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SSDRC Disability Blog

What Happens To Social Security Disability Benefits After Divorce?

This question was recently asked: "What Happens To Social Security Disability Benefits After Divorce?"

Social Security disability benefits for a disabled individual will not change if they divorce their spouse. Social Security disability benefits are based upon an individual's work activity prior to becoming disabled and have nothing to do with their spouse.

However, dependent eligibility will change for spouses who are receiving mother or father in-care benefits on the disabled person’s record if they divorce. Once the “relationship” is severed, so are the monetary benefits.

A disability claimant’s natural children would continue to receive dependent benefits if their parents divorce; however any step children being paid based solely upon the disability beneficiary’s marriage to their parent will also lose their monetary benefits when their parent divorces the Social Security disability beneficiary.

If an individual is receiving SSI, a divorce could change their disability benefits because they may be able to receive their full SSI benefit if it had been reduced because of their spouse’s income or benefits. However, it may not bring more money into the household overall because the SSI recipient is losing someone who was sharing household expenses.

Often, a spouse’s income or benefits cause an SSI beneficiary’s benefit to be reduced from the full amount. For example, if two SSI beneficiaries marry, they both cannot receive a full SSI benefit because there is a lower SSI couples benefit limit.

Additionally, SSI beneficiaries who have spouses that work may find themselves with a reduced disability monthly benefit because of their spouse’s earnings. In fact, there are times when a spouse’s income may make a SSI recipient ineligible for monetary disability benefits.

Actually, divorce really has very little negative effect on the benefits that Social Security or SSI disability beneficiaries receive. It only affects dependents in Social Security disability cases and it actually might increase the amount an individual receives in Supplemental Security Income disability.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

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Disability Decisions at the Initial Claim and First Appeal Levels
How are disability claim decisions made?
How do you find out if a disability claim has been approved or denied?
Who Makes The Social Security Disability Decision?
Who will decide my Social Security disability claim?
Social Security Disability, SSI Decisions approval rate
Tips for Social Security Disability Psychological and mental testing
How Long does a Social Security Disability Determination take After Seeing the Psychologist?
Social Security Disability Mental Psychological Exam and Questions that get Asked
Does social security deny strong disability claims?
Social Security Disability is different from VA disability
Why are you denied the first time you are denied for disability?
What Happens To Social Security Disability Benefits After Divorce?
Can I do What I want with my Social Security Back Pay?
How much information should you put on a disability application?
What disability claimants get angry about - Part I
Social Security and not getting the medical records
Social Security Disability will sometimes order X-rays but never an MRI

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

How to file for disability, filing tips
What to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits
Applying for disability benefits, SSI and SSDI
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability?
Will you get disability back pay?
Social Security Disability And SSI Qualifications
Permanent Disability Qualifications for SSD and SSI
Social Security Disability SSI status
Disability lawyer representation, finding lawyers
Who will qualify for disability and what qualifying is based on
Qualifications for Disability Benefits
Important points about filing for disability
How long does it take to get disability after applying?
Am I Eligible For Social Security Disability?
Who is eligible for SSI disability?
How to get disability in Florida