What Happens If My Marriage Status Changes?

Your marital status has an effect on you benefits, or if you are receiving benefits as the result of having a deceased spouse.

If you are applying for Social Security benefits, the Administration will ask for the combined income of you and your spouse. That number will be evaluated to determine how much you are eligible to receive if you are applying for SSI benefits, since part of the qualification is based on your assets. If your spouse’s income is determined to be too high, you may not be able to qualify to receive SSI benefits. In addition, if you are receiving SSI benefits and you get married, your benefits may be adjusted based on the income of your new spouse. Whether or not you are working, the Administration looks at the household income for SSI.

If you are married, you are eligible to claim your spouse’s Social Security benefits. You can receive up to half of the retired worker’s benefit. They can also receive the higher earner’s benefit if they are a surviving spouse. If you are divorced, but the marriage last ten years or more, you are eligible to receiving survivor spouse benefits as well. If you are divorced and the marriage was under 10 years, then you are not eligible for benefits.

Remarrying after your spouse has died if you are under the age of 50 and disabled or under the age of 60 and not disabled will result in a discontinuation of the benefits. However, if you remarry and you are over the age of 60, you will still receive survivor benefits.

Be sure to report your marital status and name changes to the Administration if you are receiving benefits, have an application open, or believe there is any reason why the amount may be adjusted otherwise.

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