If I apply for disability will they cut my husband's disability?
People are often confused with the issue of applying for disability while a spouse is receiving disability. By and large, most people believe that a spouse's disability will be cut if they apply for disability and are approved. There are great differences between SSI and SSDI when it comes to a married couple both applying for and being approved for disability benefits.
We can use the example of a husband who is receiving disability benefits and who has a spouse who wishes to apply for disability as well. If the husband is receiving SSDI, it does not matter if his wife files and gets approved for disability benefits. Social Security will not cut his benefits.
SSDI entitlement is based solely upon one's work activity prior to their becoming disabled; consequently there are no income or resource limits. This means that each spouse can receive his or her full disability separate and apart from the other with no adverse effect.
On the other hand, SSI disability is a need based disability program that is subject to both income and resource limits. If a couple decides to file for SSI disability they cannot each receive their full SSI benefit amount, because there is a couples limit. The 2019 couples limit is $1157.00 per month, while the full individual SSI amount is $771.00 per month.
As you can see, a married couple sharing the same household would receive less than two individuals sharing a residence paying their fair share (splitting the bills) of the common household bills.
In conclusion, it may or may not cut your spouse disability benefits if you apply and are approved for disability. However, it is a net gain to household income even if you are both entitled to SSI rather than SSDI.
About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.
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