Government benefits like Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provide millions of Americans the extra support they need. However, many people also receive support from their loved ones and spouses. What happens if you qualify for SSI while single, then set a wedding date? Will remarrying affect your Supplemental Security Income benefits, or will they go on as if your marital status had not changed? Let’s look at how an additional person in your life might alter your eligibility for this important benefit.
Qualifying for Supplemental Security Income
The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers several programs, including Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This benefits program is intended to help individuals who are:
- age 65 or older,
- blind, or
- disabled AND
People who also:
- receive a limited income, and
- have limited resources, and
- are U.S. citizens or national or a certain category of aliens, and
- are residents of the United States, the District of Columbia, or the Northern Mariana Islands.
There are other requirements, but these are the basic restrictions an applicant must meet.
Income and SSI After Remarrying
The SSA counts the following toward your income:
- Earned Income – wages, net earnings from self-employment, certain royalties, honoraria, and sheltered workshop payments.
- Unearned Income – income like Social Security benefits, pensions, unemployment benefits, interest income, dividends, and cash given to you by friends and relatives.
- In-Kind Income – food or shelter that is free or less than its fair market value
- Deemed Income – part of the income from your spouse if you live together, your parents if you live them, or your sponsor (if an alien). [emphasis added]
Your SSI benefit depends on how much countable income you have. If your countable income is over the income limit, you may be no longer eligible.
Marriage and Your SSI Benefits
Remarrying itself will not disqualify you from receiving SSI benefits. However, the SSA will consider your spouse’s income when deciding whether your income still falls below their income limits. In fact, part of your spouse’s income may be considered deemed income. The SSA states:
“When a person who is eligible for SSI benefits lives with a spouse who is not eligible for SSI benefits, we may count some of the spouse’s income in determining the SSI benefit.”
If your new spouse has an income and you live together, then remarrying might affect your Supplemental Security Income benefits. If you and your spouse both receive SSI benefits, you both may continue receiving SSI, although the monthly payment may be reduced.
It’s Complicated, so Give Us a Call.
The attorneys at The Law Offices of Martin Taller have helped many clients resolve SSI issues. For a free consultation, call us at 714-385-8100. Though our office is located in Anaheim, we assist clients throughout Southern California.