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What you need to know about Social Security Disability and Spousal Benefits

There tends to be confusion about Social Security Disability and Spousal Benefits.

Social Security

Here are the answers to some of the most common questions.

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If I started disability before my FRA, will my benefit change and can I still work?

When you reach full retirement age (FRA), your benefits will automatically make the change from disability to retirement benefits. The monthly check should be about the same. Read more about it here.

You can still work while getting disability benefits. However, payments will stop if the SSA notices “substantial gainful activity.”

If you’re getting disability benefits, you are entitled to a “trial work period.” The trail period can be up to nine months in order to test your ability. During this time, you can make more than the capped amount without losing benefits.

Once you reach FRA and start getting retirement benefits, there’s no limit on how much you can earn.

I found out about spousal benefits years after I started collecting my own, can I request retro pay if I switch?

The maximum spousal benefit is 50% of your spouse’s full benefit. The SSA has a rule that they “cannot pay retroactive benefits… more than 6 months in the past.”

I planned to claim my portion of my ex’s Social Security benefit, but it I am no longer eligible because of a “new bill”

If you had been married for at least ten years or divorced less than two years ago, haven’t remarried, and you and your ex are over 62, you can file to get the ex-spouse benefit.

The “new bill” you’re probably talking about is the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. It eliminated the “file-and-suspend” loophole. This used to allow married couples to maximize their benefits.


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