You may or may not lose your SSI, or Supplemental Security Income, benefits if you marry. It all depends on the income and assets of your spouse and whether or not your spouse receives SSI. You must report your marriage to the Social Security Administration, or SSA, and provide the required information so a determination can be made as to the effect of your marriage on your SSI income.
SSI is a program administered by the SSA for disabled individuals with limited income. Because you are already receiving a monthly SSI check, you must have met the basic requirements of disability and income. When you marry, your personal financial status does not change, but the SSA considers the finances of your new spouse. If you marry someone with significant income or assets, then you no longer need SSI and will lose your benefits.
Spouse with SSI
If your spouse receives SSI, you keep your benefits with a reduction. The total amount a married couple receives is reduced by 25 percent. SSI is designed to cover basic living expenses, and two people living together will have fewer costs, especially for housing, than they did when they lived separately. Add your SSI check and your new spouse's check, and then subtract one-fourth of the total to arrive at your couple rate.
An individual receiving SSI is limited to $2,000 in the bank; a married couple's limit is $3,000. If you have $1,500 before you marry, then your spouse can only have $1,500 or you will lose SSI. The income limits are far from simple, but if your spouse does not receive SSI, your spouse's income will count, and it will reduce your benefit amount, possibly to zero. The SSA will make that determination when you report your marriage.
As an SSI recipient, you have a legal responsibility to report any changes that impacts your eligibility. Marriage is one such event. You should report your marriage as soon as possible, but no later than 10 days after the end of the month. You can report the change by telephone. The SSA will provide you with any necessary forms, or they may just take the information over the phone. You will have to provide a certified copy of your marriage license.
- Social Security Administration: Effects of Getting Married on Social Security Benefits
- University of Minnesota Institute on Community Integration: People with Disabilities and the Federal Marriage Penalties
- Social Security Administration: Reporting Responsibilities
- Social Security Administration Office of Policy: Treatment of Married Couples in the SSI Program
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