Slashed Social Security Benefits: Worst Wedding Gift Ever

According to a new study from Ipsos Global Public Affairs, the vast majority of married couples say their partner is the greatest source of happiness in their lives. But, for those receiving certain Social Security benefits, marital bliss may come at a high price.

Some couples are finding out the hard way that marriage can mean significantly reduced Social Security checks. Before tying the knot, prospective spouses should consult a Michigan Social Security attorney to explore and address the potential impact their upcoming nuptials could have on their benefits.

Marriage May Affect Supplemental Security Income, Widow or Widower’s Benefits

There are many types of Social Security benefits, and marriage impacts each of them differently. Generally speaking, marriage does not directly reduce retirement benefits or Social Security disability insurance. However, marriage may mean you pay more taxes on these benefits.

As an individual, you must pay federal taxes on your Social Security Benefits if your annual income exceeds $25,000. But, if you file a joint return, you will have to pay taxes if you and your spouse have a combined total income of more than $32,000. Combining your incomes through marriage can mean a substantially higher tax burden.

Unlike DIB and retirement benefits, recipients of Supplemental Security Income or widow or widower’s benefits, may see your marriage directly affect your benefit. Typically, widow or widower’s benefits end completely if you remarry before age 60, or age 50 if you are disabled.

Also, persons receiving Adult Disabled Child benefits (ADC) will also lose their benefits when they get married.

For SSI, your spouse’s income and resources factor into your eligibility – this could mean smaller SSI payments, or, if your spouse’s income is high enough, complete ineligibility for SSI. If both you and your spouse are on SSI, your benefits will transition from an individual rate to a couple rate. As a married couple, you may receive less than the combined total of your former individual SSI rates.

Marriage may also affect other public benefits beyond those provided by the Social Security Administration. In Michigan, this may include benefits from the Food Assistance and Medical Assistance programs.

Explore Solutions With a Michigan Social Security Attorney

If you are planning to get married and you, your partner or both of you are receiving Social Security benefits, it is important to take steps to prevent a reduction in your payments as well as to be aware of what your responsibilities are related to notifying Social Security of any changes in your circumstances. Contact an experienced attorney today to find out what you can do to protect your Social Security benefits.