Managing your supplemental security benefits, or SSI, can be difficult. If you have gone through the complicated process of applying for SSI, you may be worried about what a change in relationship status could mean for your benefits. While getting married itself won't change your SSI eligibility, your new spouse's income and assets may impact your SSI eligibility.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
You will lose your SSI benefits if you get married and you and your spouse's combined income and assets exceed the eligibility requirements set by the Social Security Administration.
In order to be eligible for SSI, you must meet certain requirements. And to qualify for SSI, you must be disabled, blind or older than 65. Additionally, SSI is considered a "last resort," so you may not qualify if you have a certain amount of income from other sources.
SSI Income Limitations
In order to be eligible for SSI, you must have a limited income and limited assets. This means that you cannot own a lot of things of value or make a lot of money and still qualify for SSI benefits. For 2019, the Social Security Administration requires that you have less than $2,000 in assets for yourself, or less than $3,000 in assets if you are a couple.
Additionally, you must meet an income limit in order to be eligible for SSI. The income limit for 2019 is $771 per month if you are an individual or $1,157 per month if you are a couple. Unlike your assets, however, the Social Security Administration uses a complicated formula to determine how much of your income counts for SSI purposes, so it is sometimes possible to make over $771 per month and still remain eligible for SSI.
Effects of Marriage on SSI Eligibility
When you get married, and if your spouse is not also receiving SSI benefits, Social Security Administration will count your spouse's income towards your SSI eligibility. Additionally, if your spouse has a lot of assets, like a second home or a large bank account, those assets may also affect your eligibility. If your spouse also receives SSI benefits, the total amount you receive may decrease.
Reporting Your Marriage to the Social Security Administration
After you get married, you are required by the Social Security Administration to report the marriage. You have until the 10th day after the end of the month in which you get married to report. If you don't report your new marriage and your spouse's income and resources, you might face some serious consequences from the Social Security Administration, including fines and possibly losing your SSI benefits for up to 24 months.
- Social Security Administration: Understanding Supplemental Security Income SSI Eligibility Requirements 2019
- NOLO: Income and Asset Limits for SSI Disability Eligibility
- Social Security Administration: Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Social Security Administration: SSI Federal Payment Amounts For 2019
Bea is a personal finance and legal writer based in Texas.