Does marriage change social security income eligibility or amount?

Social security income is provided to disabled and low-income seniors, and being married can change that.

If two spouses both qualify for SSI, there’s what’s called a “maximum couple’s benefit” which is less than if both people got individual checks.

If one person is applying for SSI, their spouses income can impact what amount, if any, they receive.




Marriage will not impact SSDI, or social security disability income.

How can marriage hurt someone’s social security?

Couples that are married and both considered eligible for SSI are entitled to a maximum benefit of $1,191 a month.

An independent beneficiary is entitled to a maximum of $794 a month.

Due to being married, two eligible people are penalized and receive 25% less than they would combined independently.

Assets are also taken into account for how much a person can receive, like a savings account or property.

Related: Social security checks are in danger of being cut if you have other income from retirement

What if one spouse applies but the other is not eligible for SSI?

With a process called “deeming” the social security administration may take into account the income of the eligible spouse’s ineligible spouse under the assumption that the other spouse makes their income available.

A complex calculation is done, and what remains of your spouse’s monthly income after these deductions is equal to or less than the difference between the individual and couple’s maximum benefit.

That’s $397 for 2021 and will be $420 in 2022.

If the spouse’s countable income is over $397 then the marriage is counted as an eligible couple and it could diminish or disqualify a person’s amount or eligibility.


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