This question depends on what type of Social Security disability benefits a person is receiving. If you are receiving Social Security disability benefits (SSDI) based on your own work record, your benefits will not be affected by divorce. However, SSDI benefits can be garnished for child support and alimony. If you were receiving spousal benefits, your payments will be affected if you were married for less than 10 years, you get remarried, or you become eligible to receive a larger payment under your own earnings record. If your ex-spouse qualifies for SSDI, you may be eligible for spousal benefits if you were married for 10 years, you are at least 62 years old, you are currently unmarried, and you are not eligible for a larger payment based on your own earning record.
If you are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), your benefits might actually increase when you divorce. In order to qualify for SSI benefits, a person must have a low income and few resources. It is a needs-based benefit program. A person’s SSI benefits are calculated based on the resources of their household, including spousal income. If you are already receiving SSI and then divorce from your spouse, your spouse’s income can no longer be factored in when determining the amount of your SSI benefit. Your award amount will need to be recalculated and often times increases after a divorce. However, if you are awarded alimony during a divorce, the alimony will be counted as income and can affect your SSI payments. If your alimony payments cause your overall income to exceed the SSI eligibility limits, you could lose your SSI benefits completely.
For more information on how divorce may affect your Social Security disability benefits, contact an experienced Social Security disability attorney at Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. today at 251-343-1111 for a free case evaluation. Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. represents Social Security disability claimants in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and Louisiana at all levels of the disability process from initial application to appeals to Federal Court.