There are certain types of Social Security Disability benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims in which being married can affect your benefits. Several claims have a Marriage Penalty. These include Disabled Adult Child (DAC) claims and Widow/Widowers (DWB) claims.
A “Disabled Adult Child” or DAC benefit is a Social Security disability benefit that is based on a parent’s work record. A DAC beneficiary must be a dependent adult child (meaning over the age of 18) with a qualifying disability that began before age 22. Recipients must be unable to engage in substantial gainful activity due to their disability. The parent whose record the child is drawing on must also be disabled or deceased.
DAC recipients receive a monthly benefit and Medicare, and some cases also receive Medicaid. So, what happens if a DAC beneficiary gets married? Unfortunately, the individual receiving DAC benefits loses their monthly benefit and Medicare if they marry. They can also lose their Medicaid. The only exceptions are if the DAC beneficiary marries another DAC, a person on Social Security Disability Insurance, a person entitled to “old age” SSA benefits (earliest age 62), or a person receiving another “secondary” benefit (such as Widows benefits).
The loss of the monthly benefit as well as the loss of insurance can be life-threatening for many people with significant disabilities. If you get married, the only way to possibly get back on DAC benefits is if the marriage is annulled/voided. Getting divorced will not grant you benefits and you will forever be precluded from drawing the DAC benefit again.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims can also be affected by a marriage. This happens if they marry a person with a higher income or level of assets than is allowed under the non-medical rules for SSI claims. The Social Security Administration (SSA) counts a spouse’s income and assets in determining the SSI recipients’ monthly benefit. These resources can reduce an SSI benefit to zero fairly quickly. If two SSI recipients marry, both individuals face a 25% reduction in benefits and also have a separate asset limit. Getting divorced and having a reduction in resources could requalify you for SSI benefits.
Widow and Widower’s benefits will be covered in an upcoming blog. Keep checking back for the most up to date information affecting your Social Security benefits.
We here at Gardberg and Kemmerly specialize in disability claims and can assist you in obtaining DAC or SSI benefits. Please call our office at 251-343-1111 for a free consultation on your VA and/or SSA claim. Gardberg & Kemmerly specializes in helping the injured and disabled in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and Louisiana.