Marriage and SSDI BenefitsIf you’ve already applied for Social Security disability and currently receive benefits, getting married will not affect your monthly payments. While this is generally true for your own disability benefits, there may be certain circumstances where marriage does have an impact. It is important to learn how saying “I do” may affect the payments you receive. 

Qualify for SSDI With Your Work Credits

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a government program for disabled workers. Having earned enough work credits is one of the main criteria. You earn work credits through regular employment. Self-employment counts too. The dollar amount changes each year. For 2023, you earn one credit for $1,640 in wages, and you can earn up to four credits per year.

The number of work credits you need to qualify for SSDI can vary. Most people will need at least 40 credits to receive Social Security benefits. What’s important to note is that these are your own credits. As long as you qualify for SSDI based on your own work credits, marriage has no impact. Your new spouse’s income has no effect either. 

Consult with a Social Security disability attorney if you have any questions. They can help clarify any confusion you may have. 

How to Qualify for Disability Benefits

The Social Security Administration (SSA) outlines the requirements to receive SSDI. The main criteria are:

  • You have worked jobs covered by Social Security.
  • You have enough work credits.
  • Your medical condition meets the SSA’s definition of disability.
  • You are under 65 years old. 

The SSA requires proof of your disability. This is why you must work with your doctors to provide evidence such as lab tests, medical reports, and other relevant information. A simple diagnosis is not enough. The condition must be so severe that you are unable to work. Marital status is not a factor. 

Working with a skilled Social Security disability attorney can help you get approved for SSDI. Every case is different. A lawyer can help present the strongest case possible to the SSA.

Marriage May Affect Other Benefits

Generally, getting married will not affect SSDI eligibility. This assumes these are your benefits based on your own history. Benefits may be affected in other instances such as the following:

  • Children may receive SSDI based on a parent’s work record. If that child gets married, they will no longer receive benefits. They also lose benefits if they turn 18 or until they turn 19 as a full-time student in high school. 
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is based partly on financial need. SSDI is not. With SSI, individuals can have no more than $2,000 in assets. For couples, that number is $3,000. If your new spouse moves you above this figure, you may no longer get SSI benefits. Eligibility is also affected by location and income. 

Remarrying as a Widow or Widower

Marriage can impact benefits for survivors and divorced spouses. When a spouse receiving SSDI dies, the surviving partner may be eligible to receive disability payments. If they are at least 60 years old at the time of their spouse’s death, they can keep getting SSDI until they pass away. But, if the surviving spouse remarries, they may no longer receive SSDI benefits. It is possible, though, to be re-entitled to benefits in certain circumstances. Ask your Social Security disability lawyer how this might apply to your case. 

Getting remarried after divorce follows similar rules. If you receive SSDI benefits based on your ex-spouse, those payments stop if you remarry someone else. 

Talk With Your Disability Lawyer

Dealing with the SSA can be confusing. There can be a lot of rules and paperwork. You need a good Social Security disability attorney. At Keefe Law, we are experts in SSDI. Share your documents with us, and we can look at your case and answer any questions you have.  

Major life changes are impactful. This includes moving to another state or retiring. It also includes getting married. As you prepare for the next chapter in your life, talk to your SSDI lawyer. We can discuss your continued eligibility and how you can keep receiving benefit payments.

Patrick Hartwig
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Managing Attorney, Keefe Disability Law