Anyone who receives Social Security Disability benefits knows that the financial and medical criteria beneficiaries must meet are strict. As a Social Security lawyer Chicago can attest, many changes in living situation can affect eligibility for benefits. Many beneficiaries may be surprised to learn marriage is one of these changes.
Marital status does not always impact SSD benefits, but in some cases, it can lead to benefit loss. This often occurs when people receive benefits based on another person’s earnings record, such as dependent or survivor benefits.
The way that marriage affects widows or widowers who collect survivors benefits depends on age. These surviving spouses generally lose their eligibility for survivors benefits if they marry again before the age of 60. However, the Social Security Administration establishes different rules for surviving spouses who qualify as disabled under SSA standards. These individuals can remarry after age 50 without any impact on their survivors benefits.
Benefits for ex-spouses always terminate when an ex-spouse remarries, as any Social Security lawyer in Chicago can explain. However, the loss of benefit eligibility is not necessarily permanent. An ex-spouse may be able to resume collecting benefits again if his or her new marriage ends. The ex-spouse must prove the marriage ended in one of the following ways:
The ex-spouse also must not be eligible to collect a larger benefit based on someone else’s earnings record. If an ex-spouse’s new marriage ends, the SSA may consider the more recent spouse’s earnings record before reinstating benefits.
Benefits for children
Generally, the children of SSD beneficiaries lose their entitlement to dependent benefits if they marry. Minor children who collect dependent benefits always lose those benefits upon marriage. However, the SSA makes special provisions for disabled adult children. These are grown children who meet the SSA’s definition of disabled and developed their disabling conditions before age 22.
If a disabled adult child marries another disabled adult child, the child can continue collecting benefits. However, marriage to anyone else results in the loss of the disabled adult child’s benefits.
People who collect SSD benefits based on their own earnings can always marry without any impact on their benefits. Any Social Security lawyer in Chicago knows that SSD eligibility is based on current income, past earnings and medical condition. Marriage does not impact any of these variables. Thus, changes in marital status, living situation or total family income cannot change a direct beneficiary’s entitlement to benefits.