If you are receiving Social Security disability benefits based on your own work history, your divorce will have no bearing on your eligibility for Social Security disability benefits. These disability benefits depend upon your work history and your contribution to the Social Security fund, not your family or your income. Thus, if you were eligible for Social Security disabilitybenefits when you were married, you will remain eligible for such payments after your divorce.
But Will Your Payments Change?
The calculation of your payments will not change, and if you divorce without any alimony or child support obligations, the amount you receive will not change. However, if you are required to pay alimony or child support, your Social Security disability payments may be garnished to satisfy those legal obligations.
What if You Were Eligible as a Dependent Based on Your Spouse’s Work History?
In limited circumstances, the Social Security Administration allows spouses of workers eligible for Social Security disability to also collect benefits. Generally, a spouse may be eligible for Social Security disability if the spouse is:
- Aged 62 or older
- Caring for a minor child under the age of 16
- Caring for a disabled child
After a divorce, you may continue to receive Social Security disability benefits as an ex-spouse if:
- You were married for at least 10 years.
- You are aged 62 or older.
- You have not remarried.
- You are not entitled to a bigger Social Security payment on your own.
If your children are receiving Social Security disability dependent benefits, your divorce is unlikely to impact those benefits.
Other Social Security programs, including supplemental security income, have different rules about how divorce impacts payments. Thus, it is important to know exactly how your benefits, and those of your family members, will be impacted by a divorce. To find out more, please contact Morgan & Weisbrod today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Social Security disability lawyer.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.