Once you are approved for disability payments through Social Security, there are a number of things that can disqualify you from the program. One of these situations is marriage. Depending upon whether you receive SSI or SSDI payments, as well as a number of other factors, getting married could disqualify you or cause your monthly payments to be reduced. In other cases, you won’t see a change in your benefits.
Since SSI is a need-based program, your benefits could be reduced or stop altogether if your spouse’s income or resources put you above the limits of the program. Part of their income is deemed as yours, so whether your benefits are affected will depend upon how much they earn or own. Social Security has developed a formula for calculating benefits, so if you’re thinking about getting married you may want to contact them and see whether your marriage will affect your payments. It’s important to remember that Social Security sets the maximum SSI payment at 710 dollars per month (as of 2013), while the maximum payment for a married couple who both receive disability is 1,066 dollars.
If you’re receiving SSDI, your benefits could be affected depending upon the work record from which you draw benefits. If you draw upon your own work credits, getting married will not affect your benefits, no matter how much your new spouse earns. If you’re drawing off of your parent’s work record, getting married will cause your benefits to stop. In some circumstances you may be able to marry another disabled adult child, who also draws from their parent’s work record, without either of your benefits being affected.
If you draw SSDI from an ex spouse’s work record, getting remarried will cause your benefits to stop. However, if your former spouse is deceased, you won’t lose benefits if you get remarried after age 60 (or age 50 if you’re disabled).
Before getting married, it is best to speak to a Social Security representative or a disability lawyer to investigate the potential affect on your benefits. This way you and your new spouse can plan accordingly, and there won’t be any major surprises after you say “I do”.