Social Security Disability and marriage

By Michelle Shvarts
Principal Attorney

If you are already married or getting remarried with children from your ex, each circumstance will have its own consequences on your Social Security Disability Income. The consequences may not always be negative as you will see below.

How marriage affects your SSDI

Since Social Security Disability Insurance is earned by paying social security taxes on your paycheck, you or your spouse may be entitled to social security benefits on his/her record. Also, your benefits might be reduced or downright cancelled if, you were getting benefits on someone else’s record and got remarried to another person. Similarly, there may be other ways how a marriage may affect your benefits:

  • Your own work record: If you were granted benefits on your own record, or if you are still receiving benefits on your own record (meaning you were entitled to your own benefits as a disabled individual), then getting married to another person, or remarrying with children from old spouse(s) will not affect your benefits. Whether your future spouse works, receives disability benefits on his/her own record, or has no income or disability benefits, would not affect your benefits in any way.
  • Deceased spouse’s work record: If you were receiving widow/widower benefits as the survivors of a Social Security disability recipient, you will lose your widow/widower benefits by getting married, if you get married before age 60 (or age 50 if you are disabled). Also, if you were receiving disability benefits of your own, you would only be able to receive survivor benefits on your deceased spouse’s record if the amount of your spouse’s disability benefits was larger than your own disability benefits.
  • Ex-spouse’s work record: If you are receiving Social Security benefits under your ex-spouse’s work record, then getting married to another person will cause you to lose eligibility for benefits.
  • Deceased ex-spouse’s work record: If you are receiving surviving divorced spouse benefits, you’ll lose these benefits if you get remarried before age 60. If you are a divorced spouse receiving benefits due to a disability on your deceased ex-spouse’s work record, you’ll lose these benefits if you get remarried before age 50. If you were receiving benefits of a deceased ex-spouse for taking care of their minor children, then you may continue receiving your benefits until the children get to adult age (18 years, or 19 years if in high school).
  • Parent’s work record: If you were receiving benefits under your parent’s record, then you may continue to receive benefits as long as you are under 18 years of age. In cases where you are an adult disabled child, then you may continue benefits for lifetime if your disability striked before you turned 22 and remain disabled. In some circumstances, however, a disabled adult child may be able to marry another disabled adult child without either person losing benefits.

You may contact a disability attorney for more detailed guidance.

About the Author
Ms. Shvarts is the managing attorney for Disability Advocates Group. She opened Disability Advocates Group to assist individuals who became disabled and unable to work to obtain the benefits they need and deserve.  Ms. Shvarts and the rest of the team at Disability Advocates Group are dedicated to assisting individuals obtain Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.