10 May Will My Spouse’s Income Impact My SSDI Eligibility?
Despite many common misconceptions, the only income that can impact your SSDI eligibility and benefit amount is your own.
When dealing with disability, monthly income is essential to pay for medical expenses and daily needs. Unfortunately, it is common for those facing a disabling condition to be unable to work, which takes a toll on their finances. For this reason, the Social Security Administration (SSA) offers Social Security disability insurance (SSDI). SSDI is a benefits program that is available to disabled workers who meet the qualification requirements.
What are the SSDI Requirements?
In order to receive disability benefits, the SSA must find that you are eligible. To determine this, they have strict qualification requirements that all applicants must meet. These requirements are:
- You must not be employed, or you must be working and earning less than $1,350 per month
- You must have worked at least 5 out of the last 10 years
- And, you must have paid into Social Security through payroll tax during those 5 to 10 years.
- You must have received a doctor’s evaluation proving medical disability.
- You must be unable to work for at least 12 months because of your condition.
Can My Marital Status or Spouse’s Income Impact My Eligibility for SSDI?
This is a common misconception many people have when considering applying for disability benefits. Neither your marital status or the income of your spouse will impact your eligibility for SSDI. The SSA only looks at your income and work history while determining if you qualify for benefits, your spouse’s financial situation will not impact their decision.
The amount that you are able to earn in monthly benefits will also not be impacted or determined by your spouse’s income. To calculate the amount you will receive in SSDI, the SSA refers to your prior earnings.
Disability benefits are determined by using “average indexed monthly earnings.” This average summarizes a worker’s earnings for up to 35 years. The SSA then uses this average to find the Primary Insurance Amount (PIA). The PIA is typically the basis for how much a person will receive in SSDI benefits.
When Your Spouse’s Income Can Impact Benefits
While SSDI benefits are only impacted by your earnings, other SSA disability benefits can be impacted by your spouse’s income.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is another benefit program for disabled individuals that is provided by Social Security. Unlike SSDI, SSI does not require that beneficiaries have a certain amount of work credits. SSI is needs based and is provided to lower income individuals.
Since SSI is needs based, the SSA considers all income resources you may have when determining your benefit amount. These resources may include your spouse’s income as well as your living situation or anything else that could impact your finances.
Not Currently Receiving Benefits?
If you are not currently receiving SSDI benefits, consider contacting a disability attorney. An attorney will be able to answer any questions you may have about Social Security disability benefits and guide you through the claims process. Studies have shown that those who choose to hire legal representation for their SSDI claims are three times more likely to win benefits than those who do not
Victory Disability is a nationwide law firm. We specialize in helping disabled workers get the benefits that they have earned and deserve. To see if we can assist you, take our free evaluation by clicking here.