Can I Still Collect Disability Benefits If My Spouse Works?
Making ends meet can be hard, especially if one of your main sources of income is disability benefits. The rules associated with disability benefits are complex and ever-changing, leaving many recipients always wondering if their benefits are about to be cut off. This is further complicated by the fact that SSDI and SSI have completely different eligibility rules, making it even more challenging for applicants to know whether or not they qualify.
If you’re married and seeking disability payments, you might wonder how your spouse’s income affects your eligibility. Learn more about this now, and for more advice regarding your claim, call The Dansby Law Firm at 334-834-7001.
If You Receive SSDI Benefits
The SSDI program is intended for workers who suddenly find themselves unable to continue working due to a disability that lasts at least one year. As a worker, you pay into the SSDI program with your earnings every year. You collect those earnings either through SS payments when you hit the appropriate age or SSDI payments.
Eligibility for SSDI is based on your disability and your work history, not the income level in your household. As a result, your SSDI status will not be affected by your spouse’s income. However, the application process is still quite demanding. You’ll need to provide substantial proof of your disability, and you’ll likely get denied at least once before you have a chance to get approved. You must also have enough work experience in the previous 10 years to qualify for SSDI benefits.
What About SSI?
While SSDI is not a need-based program, Supplemental Security Income is. The income you bring in is classified as earned, unearned, in-kind, or deemed. Deemed income is the relevant type in this situation, as it includes some of the income of the spouse or parents you live with.
The SSA “deems” income by determining that the income is available to you to cover basic necessities. Note that this only applies to those who are married and live together or those who live together and maintain the appearance of spouses in public.
The formula used by the SSA to determine whether or not your spouse’s income counts against you is fairly complicated, as it involves estimating living expenses for each member of the household, subtracting that amount from the total income of the household, and using the resulting number as deemed income. However, there are deductions that further chip away at the amount that is considered deemed income.
The amount you are left with is how much deemed income you have. That is subtracted from the income limit set by the SSA for a disabled couple. Anything left over is what you may receive from the SSI program. If the resulting number is zero or negative, you likely do not qualify for SSI. Note that the SSI program does have monthly maximum limits, so even if your resulting sum is very high, you are still capped at the maximum monthly amount set each year.
How to Find Out If Your Claim Will Be Affected by Your Spouse’s Income
Determining whether or not you qualify for SSI based on your spouse’s income is difficult, due to the complicated formula used by the SSA. Many people are so discouraged by this calculation that they choose to stop the application process completely. While this process can be time-consuming, please don’t let a question like this stop you from seeking the benefits you may deserve.
Instead, consult a disability attorney who can help you with this and other questions. A disability attorney with extensive experience in disability benefits will be able to look at your income and resources to figure out whether or not you qualify for SSI. They can also help you during the application process by ensuring that your application includes all the information the SSA can use to make a fair determination. This lets you spend less time stressing about your application.
Reach Out to The Dansby Law Firm Today
At The Dansby Law Firm, our focus on disability law allows us to advocate for your clients with the SSA. Ready to find out how we can help you? Call our team at 334-834-7001 or fill out our online contact form.