In some situations, both spouses may be able to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or even Supplemental Security Income (SSI). However, receiving benefits under both programs may affect a claimant's eligibility, so it is important to understand these complications before pursuing benefits.
The disability attorneys at Dayes Law Firm are prepared to review your situation and help ensure that you do not negatively impact your spouse's eligibility by filing an application. We could also help you prepare your claim or file an appeal, if necessary.
When Both Spouses Can Get SSDI Benefits
Since SSDI is not a needs-based program, you and your spouse may both be able to receive these benefits without affecting each other's eligibility. To qualify for benefits, you must have a sufficient number of work credits.
The amount of benefits you receive is based on your own average monthly earnings you received during your working years, so your rate of benefits may be much different than those of your spouse. You may still be able to work and receive income from other sources while receiving these benefits.
When Both Spouses May Qualify for SSI Benefits
It is more difficult for both spouses to qualify for SSI benefits because this is a needs-based program. A married couple cannot have monthly income in excess of $1,175 for one or both spouses to qualify for benefits. This is the household income maximum for 2020.
Although, if you and your spouse live in different residences, you both may still be eligible for SSI benefits based on the individual monthly income limit of $783.
Being Able to Get Disability at the Same Time
You and your spouse can only receive disability benefits at the same time if you both individually meet the Social Security Administration's (SSA) definition of a disability. You both must be able show:
- You each have a disability that prevents you and your spouse from working
- Your disability is expected to last for a minimum of one year or be terminal
You must also provide medical records, treatment notes, medical imaging scans, lab results and other evidence to prove that you meet one of the conditions detailed in the Blue Book Listing of Impairments.
If you cannot meet this standard, you and/or your spouse may be able to qualify based on a medical vocational allowance. You can have a residual functional capacity assessment performed on you that shows your limitations to complete routine work activities and sustain work.
Potential Issues When One Spouse Already Has Benefits
Potential issues may arise when your spouse is already receiving SSI benefits and you are later approved for SSDI benefits. Your SSDI benefits may make it so that neither you nor your spouse will qualify for SSI benefits based on your monthly income.
This situation can cause your spouse to lose his or her monthly SSI payments, which would place you in the position of having to maintain your household with only your SSDI benefits.
Contact Us to Learn More
Before applying for disability benefits, it is important to consider how your approval may affect your overall financial picture.
The dedicated Phoenix Social Security Disability lawyers at our firm are prepared to assess your income, work history and assets to determine which benefits you may be eligible for. If your benefits are cut off because of your spouse's eligibility, we may be able to help you resolve the issue.
Call 1-800-503-2000 today for a free consultation.