Social Security Disability and Marriage

Social Security recipients should know that there is a connection between Social Security Disability and marriage. If someone has questions about how marriage will affect their social security disability benefits, they can call a social security disability lawyer for information.

Does Marriage Affect Social Security Disability Benefits?

Most Chicago residents know that changes in living situation, such as increases in income or a return to work, can affect a person’s eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits. However, many people do not realize marital status can also determine whether a person receives disability benefits. Under some circumstances, SSD beneficiaries may lose their benefits after they get married. Social Security disability and marriage can be a tricky combination. Anyone receiving social security disability benefits should consult a disability attorney before making a change in their marital status.

Social Security Disability and Marriage

SSD benefits are not awarded based on financial need, so the increase in income and the other financial benefits associated with marriage do not affect a person’s eligibility for benefits. However, people who collect benefits based on another person’s earnings record may lose those benefits after marrying. Depending on the type of dependents benefit the individual receives, the following rules typically apply:

  • Ex-spouse’s benefit — a dependent ex-spouse’s new marriage always results in the loss of this benefit. However, if the new marriage ends in death, divorce or annulment, the ex-spouse may be able to start collecting this benefit again, if a greater benefit is not available through the earnings record of the more recent spouse.
  • Survivors benefit — a person who receives a survivor’s benefit based on the earnings record of a deceased spouse. Additionally, deceased ex-spouses may lose eligibility for the benefit after remarrying. However, an ex-spouses eligibility may depend on age. Surviving spouses and former spouses may remarry after age 60 without losing their benefits. If these spouses are disabled, they may marry again after age 50 without losing their survivors benefits.
  • Adult disabled child’s benefit – an adult child who has a disabling condition and collects a benefit based on a parent’s earnings record generally loses the benefit upon marrying. However, a disabled adult child who marries another disabled adult child may be able to keep his or her benefit.

These are a few of the situations in which Social Security disability and marriage are connected. Any change in the marital status of a benefit recipient or his or her ex-spouse can affect social security benefits. Although social security benefits do not have any control over the actions of an ex-spouse, they may consider their social security benefits before changing their own marital status.

People who collect SSD benefits based on their own earnings records can continue collecting benefits regardless of marital status, as long as they meet other Social Security criteria. After marriage, a beneficiary’s new spouse and stepchildren may even be eligible for dependents benefits. However, total benefits for family members are capped at between 50 and 80 percent of the disabled worker’s benefit amount, which may limit the benefit amount that new family members can receive.

Anticipating changes

Anyone who currently receives SSD benefits, whether as a direct beneficiary or as the dependent family member of a beneficiary, should understand that marriage might impact entitlement to the benefit. Social Security disability and marriage can be a tricky combination. People seeking information about social security disability and marriage can often benefit from speaking with an SSD attorney, who can explain how marriage may impact the benefits the individual and any new family members receive.

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Chicago personal injury and workers’ compensation attorney Howard Ankin has a passion for justice and a relentless commitment to defending injured victims throughout the Chicagoland area. With decades of experience achieving justice on behalf of the people of Chicago, Howard has earned a reputation as a proven leader in and out of the courtroom. Respected by peers and clients alike, Howard’s multifaceted approach to the law and empathetic nature have secured him a spot as an influential figure in the Illinois legal system.

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