Cue the wedding bells, you’re getting married! You have found the love of your life and are ready to start the next chapter. There are so many things you should be thinking about right now—your disability benefits should be the last thing on your mind. If you receive disability benefits from the government, you may be worried that getting married will affect them, or even eliminate them. To help ease your mind and expand your knowledge on this topic, here is how marriage status can affect certain disability benefits—
When people get married, they often combine their incomes together and file taxes jointly. This can result in an increased income than what you would have filing as single, and therefore, you may end up having to pay more in income taxes than before. This is called a marriage penalty. This is true for any couple, but you may be wondering, how does this affect individuals with disabilities in particular? If you
or your spouse are receiving disability benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the combining of your incomes may push you over the maximum income to receive this benefit, or at the very least reduce the amount you receive. However, not all disability benefits are affected by marriage. For example, if you receive Social Security Disability Insurance, this will not change regardless of your spouse’s income.
Ending of Childhood Disability Benefits
If you developed your disability before the age of 22, you may currently receive Childhood Disability Benefits (CDB). One of the conditions of CDB, unfortunately, is that you must be unmarried to receive it since being single in this case means you are considered still dependent on your parents. When you marry, you will lose this benefit. However, if your spouse is receiving Social Security disability benefits, you are exempt from this rule and will maintain your CDB.
Change in Medicaid
Much like CDB, receiving Medicaid benefits is based on necessity and a certain level of income. Because of the Medicaid marriage penalty, if your income combined with your spouse’s is higher than the maximum income required to qualify for Medicaid, you will unfortunately lose these benefits. If you have Medicaid and are getting married, it is always a good idea to talk to a Medicaid planning specialist for more details on your specific situation.
Limits on Family and Friends Financial Support
For many people, when they get married, their families give them financial gifts and support. If you receive this kind of gift or support, it could affect your eligibility for Medicaid and SSI, just like any other increase in income. However, this is only the case if the money is given directly to you and your spouse. For example, if this money is placed into a supplemental needs trust, this will not affect your benefits and everything will remain the same. So, before you get married, talk to your family and clarify if/how they plan to give you financial gifts or support.
Your marriage is a happy occasion that should never be diminished by unexpected changes to your disability benefits. Being in the know is being prepared, and Delta Center is here to help you become informed on any subject you have questions about regarding your disability, whether it be your specific financial needs, community resources, care programs, or benefit information. No matter what you are looking for, our extensive resource page is here to help you stay in the know.