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Marriage: can it affect your disability benefits?

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program determines eligibility based on your work history and the severity of your condition or combination of impairments. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program determines eligibility based on your monthly income and the severity of your condition or combination of impairments.

The programs mentioned above both provide benefits to those who have a disability that prevents them from working in Houston or anywhere. Although there are some aspects of the programs that are very similar, some are also very different. Eligibility is one of them, and it affects whether or not marriage could reduce the amount of benefits you receive.

We will first look at SSDI benefits. Your work history is in the past, it cannot change. Marriage has no effect on your individual benefit award, which means that the Social Security Administration will not suspend your benefits or reduce the amount simply because you said, “I do.”

SSI benefits on the other hand are based on your current income. A marriage has the potential to affect the income amount the SSA uses to determine your eligibility. The act of marriage will not reduce your benefits, but the income of your spouse has the potential to affect your award.

Marriage is only one factor or aspect of your life the SSA will consider. To understand how anything could affect your eligibility for benefits or your award, you should consult with an attorney who can provide detailed advice about your particular situation.

Source: Forbes, “Social Security Q&A: How Will Marriage Affect My Disability Benefit?” Laurence Kotlikoff, March 1, 2015

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