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Will Remarriage Affect my Social Security Benefits?

September 5, 2017 • By

Last Updated: September 5, 2017

married couple hugging Whether it’s a morning ceremony or an evening gala, excitement’s in the air. It’s wedding season! A time when many couples officially tie the knot. Social Security is with you throughout life’s journey, we wouldn’t miss the chance to be there after your wedding. 

If you’re getting married, along with the excitement of your impending nuptials, you may have some questions about changing the name on your Social Security card.

If you get Social Security disability or retirement benefits and you get married again, there are four ways in which remarriage may affect your benefits:

  1. If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits — If you marry, your spouse’s income and resources may change your SSI benefit. If you and your spouse both get SSI, your benefit amount will change from an individual rate to a couple’s rate.
  2. If you receive benefits as a widow, divorced widow, widower, or divorced widower — You cannot get benefits if you remarry before age 60 or if you are disabled and remarry before age 50. If you remarry before you turn 50, you will not be entitled to survivor’s benefits, unless the marriage ends.

—  If you remarry before you turn 60 and that marriage ends, you may become entitled or re-entitled to benefits on your prior deceased spouse’s earnings record. Your benefits begin the first month in which the subsequent marriage ended if all entitlement requirements are met.

  1. If you receive divorced spouse’s benefits — Generally, your benefits end if you remarry. Check out if you are divorced for more information.
  2. Benefits for a child under age 18 or student ages 18 or 19 — Benefits end if you marry. You can find more information in our page Benefits for Children.

Also, your remarriage after age 60 does not prevent you from becoming entitled to benefits on your prior deceased spouse’s Social Security earnings record. Visit our Benefit Planners for more information.


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Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

Comments

  1. Barbara

    I am 65 years old my husband just walked away from the marriage. We were married 40 years. I get no support from him or help of any kind. I was wondering if I can receive any money to help me. I am on social security but need a little more to make ends meet. His check is way more than mine.

    • Ray F.

      We are sorry to hear of your situation, Barbara. Generally, during the initial interview, when individuals apply for their Social Security benefits, we explore other possible eligibility that could pay them a higher benefit amount. In cases where individuals are eligible for benefits on their own record and for benefits as a spouse, we always pay their own first. If their spousal benefits are higher than their own retirement benefits, he or she will get a combination of benefits equaling the higher spouse benefit. However, a person’s benefit amount can never exceed the highest single benefit amount to which that person is entitled. For more information, please see our Retirement Planner: Benefits For You As A Spouse.
      You may be eligible to receive additional assistance from the state where you live. You can get information about services in your area from your state or local social services office. You can also visit the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services web page for more information. We hope this information helps.

    • AKA

      Extra help is on the way when you become a widow.

  2. Frances A.

    I was on permanent disability and when my ex husband died they changed it to widows benefits. Why? I divorced him years ago. Not saying I want to get married again..but if I did which rule applies to me?

    • Ray F.

      Thank you for your question, Frances. Survivor’s benefits are paid at a higher percentage than regular spouse or divorced spouse benefits. It appears that you’re now receiving “surviving divorced spouse” benefits. To see how getting married could affect your benefits, please visit our “Frequently Asked Questions” web page. We hope this helps.

  3. Robin E.

    I heard that if I marry someone who is also getting Social Security my benefit will be lowered. Is this true?

    • Ann C.

      Good question, Robin. For a person receiving Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits, marriage does not affect his or her benefit. These benefits are based on earnings and are not subject to income and resource limits. For a person receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), getting married may affect his or her benefit. This is because the amount of the SSI benefit is based, in part, on the income available to him or her and the spouse. See “If I get married will it affect my benefits” for more information. Thanks.

      • Cesley T.

        The paragraphs on getting married affecting ssd does NOT answer the question directly or CLEARLY. I suggest calling social security or going into your local ss office, bring all of your questions on a notebook. Hope you find your answers, I’m looking for the same.

  4. Kymberly B.

    I was wondering what happens to the Social Security Benefit money of someone who is incarcerated. My ex-husband owes me over $50,000 in back Child Support and is now in prison for life, but before his prison sentence he was steadily employed, meaning he has earned Social Security benefits. So where do his earned benefits go, who are the benefits paid to and why can’t he receive benefits in prison?

    • Landers

      Is he disabled or past retirement age? If so he will not get payments while incarcerated but his dependents can unless his impairment is related to the felony for which he is incarcerated

    • Antoinette P.

      If he is a felon, which most likely he is.. Social Security will stop. As for the child support.. If you have a court action against him for it.. it will change. The amount that the state collects will me very little. After a while they will issue an order to Vacate the order. Those payments by then will only be done by what he earns. Which may be nothing at all. It could be as low as $1.88 a month for a child. For all your work in getting child support started.. It will stop. I don’t know if he can send you any money.

  5. tony

    I am on Social Security disability for anxiety disorder. If I marry someone with a minor child, then will I receive an additional 50% increase in disability benefits for the child.

  6. Randell B.

    What is the Couple Rate compare to the Single Rate ?

    • AKA

      The single rate is 1 (one), the couple rate is 2 (two).

  7. Guadalupe H.

    My husband gives me an allowance of 600 month but it use to be 1500 month. We have been married 10 yrs. He’s 86 and I’m 55. Could I draw on his AS benefits now since I took a loss in pay since I married him…im a home spousal provider ( as he states on tax return s my ocupation – and he amended my earnings and credits [ I didn’t have knowledge of]). What does this mean to my credits for my future with SS

    • Kenny O.

      Hello Guadalupe. Thank you for your question. If you have not worked or do not have enough Social Security credits to qualify for your own Social Security benefits, you may be able to receive spouse’s benefits.
      To qualify for spouse’s benefits, you must be:
      At least 62 years of age; or
      Any age and caring for a child entitled to receive benefits on your spouse’s record who is younger than age 16 or disabled.
      Your full spouse’s benefit could be up to one-half the amount your spouse is entitled to receive at their full retirement age. If you choose to begin receiving spouse’s benefits before you reach full retirement age, your benefit amount will be permanently reduced. See Retirement Planner: Plan For Your Retirement for more information.
      We encourage you to contact us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) for questions relating specifically to your work credits. It will be helpful to have information such as Forms W-2, pay stubs, etc. Hope this helps.

      • carol s.

        Hello,

        If you never worked, were underemployed, or have trust account income, you will receive a Spousal Retirement Benefit. If you worked, earned the same or greater than your husband, were an educator, law enforcement, or other health a safety professional you will be punished and denied a Spousal Retirement Benefit if you are a victim (81% are WOMEN) of the Gov Pension Offset. The SSA Gov Pension Offset is anti income equality.

  8. Barbara A.

    Thanks for the information I am an accountant and will post this message in my office.

  9. Elve

    If you divorce and neither remarried are you entitled to benefits after age 60

    • Kenny O.

      Hello Elve. Thank you for your question. Generally, you may be eligible to receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record at age 62, if:
      • You were married to your ex-spouse for at least 10 years;
      • You are unmarried;
      • Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits and,
      • The benefit you are entitled to receive based on your own work is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s work.
      See our Retirement Planner: If You Are Divorced for more information. We hope this helps.

      • carol s.

        Hello Elve,

        If you are a victim of the Gov Pension Offset (GPO) you may not receive any Spousal Retirement from your husbands account. 81% of those denied a Spousal Retirement because of GPO are WOMEN.

  10. Alfred P.

    I’m 74, my first wife died 3 years ago. I remarried last year. My present wife is not a citizen yet but does have a green card. Is she entitled to any benefits now? How about after I die, will she receive benefits based on my SS income?

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