Will I Lose My SSI Income After I Get Married?

Once you get hitched, your SSI benefits might take a hit.

Once you get hitched, your SSI benefits might take a hit.

Qualifying for Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, is a challenge in itself. Several factors -- including your age, type of disability and income -- play into whether you qualify. Although getting married won't directly disqualify you for the benefits, several factors surrounding your new spouse's financial affairs might affect whether you'll continue to receive SSI benefits.

SSI Requirements

To receive SSI you must be blind, disabled or age 65. If you're disabled, your doctor must expect your condition to last a minimum of 12 months. You also must have minimum resources, which as of 2013 means the property you own must be worth less than $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for a married couple. Some resources, such as your home and car, don't count toward the resource limit.

SSI Income Limits

The most you can earn a month in wages and still receive SSI is $1,505 for an individual and $2,217 for a married couple. If your income is not from wages, the most you can receive is $718 if you're single, and $730 if you're married. If SSI is your only form of income, you should receive the maximum federal amount. The more income you earn or receive, the lower your monthly benefits will be until you reach the income limits.

Effects of Marriage on SSI

If your new spouse works, the Social Security Administration will count his income toward your SSI eligibility. A spouse's resources, such as a vacation home or a life insurance policy worth more than $1,500, also count toward your eligibility. If both you and your future spouse receive SSI, your monthly benefit amount might go down. But with shared living expenses, the loss of benefits wouldn't be as damaging as you might think.

Reporting Your Marriage

When you tie the knot, the Social Security Administration requires that you report the marriage by the 10th day after the end of the month in which you get married. If you don't report the marriage and your spouse's income and resources, the Social Security Administration might charge a penalty or suspend your SSI payments. The penalty can be as much as $100 and the suspension can be for up to 24 months, depending on whether you've failed to report changes in the past.


About the Author

Angela M. Wheeland specializes in topics related to taxation, technology, gaming and criminal law. She has contributed to several websites and serves as the lead content editor for a construction-related website. Wheeland holds an Associate of Arts in accounting and criminal justice. She has owned and operated her own income tax-preparation business since 2006.

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