Can A Husband And Wife Both Collect Social Security?

by Aug 14, 2017

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Whether a husband and wife can both collect Social Security depends on a few factors. The circumstances at play include what type of benefits one or both partners receive, their ages, and their total income.

There are also situations where each partner is eligible to collect their own benefits, but it may make more sense for one partner to receive spousal benefits from the other. Sorting it all out can be exceedingly complicated. To ensure you maximize the benefits available to you and your spouse, it is best to meet with one of the qualified Social Security attorneys at the Disability Advantage Group. Call 865-566-0800 today to schedule a free consultation.

What are the different types of Social Security benefits?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers three main types of benefits. Two of them are for people who become disabled before they reach retirement age. The third is the standard retirement benefit that everyone with enough work history may receive.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a disability program for workers who become disabled. It receives its funding from the payroll taxes. Thus, only people who have earned enough work credits and paid taxes into the system are eligible to receive benefits under this program.

Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) is also for disabled people, but rather than being an insurance program like SSDI, it is a welfare program for the needy. You do not need a work history to be eligible. However, the program has strict income requirements. If you earn too much money or have too many assets, you cannot receive SSI.

Retirement is available regardless of disability status. This program only has two requirements. You must be at least 62 years old, though you can earn a bigger monthly check the longer you wait to start receiving benefits —up to age 70. The second requirement is that the recipient has a work history. The more you have earned in your lifetime and the more you have paid in payroll taxes, the higher your benefit amount.

Can a husband and wife both receive SSDI at the same time?

SSDI is the easiest program under which both spouses may receive benefits. That is because the program is not based on need. Instead, you only need to fall below the SSA’s monthly income limit—$1,170 for 2017—and meet the program’s medical requirements to qualify. In other words, no matter how much money your spouse makes, you can receive SSDI benefits as long as you have a disabling medical condition and a sufficient work history.

The same is true if your spouse receives SSDI income. If you qualify for SSDI, then it does not matter that your spouse receives benefits for his or her own disability. The SSA would approve or deny both of your applications on their own merits.

What are the spousal rules for the SSI program?

SSI, because it is need-based and has income limits, has different rules when it comes to two spouses who are both disabled. It is technically possible for both spouses to receive SSI. However, the income guidelines make it difficult for both to qualify.

Each applicant is subject to an income limit and part of the money their spouse earns counts toward that limit. This is true even if the spouse’s only source of income is SSI.

The math can be a little bit complex. Confounding the issue further is the fact that the program allows for certain income exclusions and expense deductions when calculating your total monthly income. Our lawyers can evaluate your household finances and advise you on how to maximize benefits between you and your spouse.

What about retirement benefits?

Married couples have a few choices when it comes to their retirement benefits. They can both elect to receive their own benefits or one partner can take their own benefits, and the other can choose to receive spousal benefits based on their husband or wife’s work history. It comes down to which choice results in a higher benefit amount.

The rules for spouses receiving traditional retirement benefits are complex. If you have questions about maximizing your retirement benefits for you and your spouse, contact our attorneys today.

Call the Disability Advantage Group, for help with Social Security benefits.

For many seniors and the vast majority of disabled people, Social Security comprises the bulk of the income used to pay bills and keep food on the table. When you apply for benefits, it is vital to do it in a way that maximizes how much you receive.

A qualified Social Security attorney can answer all your questions and advise you on how to get the most from each program. Call the experts at the Disability Advantage Group, at 865-566-0800. We can put our experience and resources to work for you.