Recently on a legal forum a user asked, “I recently found out a girlfriend I had dated a few years back had a child. I am not sure I am the child’s father, but if I am I would like to make sure I do right by him. I have recently started receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). I am wondering what I need to do to ensure my child receives whatever part of my benefits he is due.”
Will my disability payment change if I get divorced?
If you are considering divorce you might be wondering, “Will my disability payments change or stop if I get divorced?” The answer to this question will depend on your benefits.There are two disability programs offered by the Social Security Administration: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
What is Supplemental Security Income?
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments are available for the disabled, blind or aged (65 years or older) who have very limited income and resources and who are unable to perform substantial gainful activity for at least twelve continuous months.
Deeming the Income from your Spouse for SSI
If you are married and your spouse is working and you are receiving Supplemental Security Income benefits the Social Security Administration “deems” part of their income to you (the assumption is they are using some of their income to provide support to you).
Deeming is a very complicated calculation and you need to contact the Social Security Administration directly for specific information about how your spouse’s income could affect your SSI benefits.
So if you are receiving Supplemental Security Income and your payments have been reduced because your spouse makes too much money, if you divorce your spouse it is possible that your SSI payment may increase. There is, however, a maximum amount which is paid for SSI benefits ($698 in 2012) so your total SSI payment will not increase higher than this amount, which is called the federal benefit rate (exceptions exist in states which add their own supplemental payments onto the federal benefit rate).
Can I qualify for Supplemental Security Income now if I was denied due to my spouse’s income?
If you applied for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and you were denied benefits because your spouse’s income was too high, if you divorce you may now qualify for SSI benefits, assuming that you meet all of the other requirements outlined by the Social Security Administration.
What is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?
Social Security Disability Insurance is paid to claimants who have become disabled with a severe disabling health condition which does not allow them to work for 12 continuous months and they have worked, earned enough and paid enough in payroll taxes to be considered insured by the Social Security Administration.
If you qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) your benefit payments are based exclusively on your own work record and the amount you receive is not lowered or eliminated if your spouse makes too much money.
So are SSDI benefits affected by marriage or divorce? No, it will not matter if you marry or get divorced or whether your spouse makes a substantial amount of money, your Social Security Disability Insurance benefit will not change.
Hiring a Divorce Lawyer
If you are considering filing for divorce there are many considerations. If you are receiving either Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance you will need to contact the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213.
The Social Security Administration requests that claimants notify them if they go through a life event such as divorce, separation, marriage, birth of a child or spousal death. Failing to contact the SSA for certain life events could result in over payments or under payments.
- Social Security Disability Lawyer – Do they ever work for free? (disabilitybenefitshome.com)
- Arthritis and Social Security Disability Benefits (disabilitybenefitshome.com)
- Supplemental Security income- Common Questions Part II (disabilitybenefitshome.com)