Receiving SSI Disability and having Marital Income
I was recently mailed a question about a couple in which the husband was receiving disability benefits. The wife had taken a job and, as a result, his disability benefits had been stopped. The reporter asked me how often this happens. He also asked me if what they were considering was logical: divorce to remedy the situation.
This is what I wrote back:
"If the gentleman was receiving title II Social Security Disability Benefits, that wouldn't happen. He must be receiving SSI aka supplemental security income based on disability. Title 16 SSI benefits are based on need. In principle, the approach taken by the SSI is not dissimilar from the medicaid program; both are income and asset-resource sensitive. In this case, the wife's income is being partially counted or deemed, and is being counted against his eligibility for SSI benefits.
I am a former disability examiner and have not worked as a social security field office claims rep (meaning I worked on the actual disability application and didn't have much of anything to do with monetary and asset eligibility issues). However, in a prior occupation, I was a medicaid caseworker and so I would assume that if they do divorce that would cure the income issue.
However, he will most likely have to file a new claim. I am not sure if there is an actual "fix" to his situation. If he himself had been working and he had exhausted his trial work months and his earnings in the tenth month had exceeded the limit for SGA, or substantial gainful activity, then he would be potentially eligible for an expedited reinstatement. But these are deemed earnings from his spouse."
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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