6 Things You Need to Know About Getting Divorced While on Disability

Whether you’re chronically depressed or physically impeded by a back injury you got from a bad car accident, you understand that getting separated while on disability presents unique challenges. What are these issues? What do you need to know to make intelligent, strategic decisions?

1. If you collect Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) on your own work record, your benefit amount won’t change.

Since the amount of SSDI benefits you collect depends on your own past earnings only, your basic benefit amount will remain the same during and after the divorce.

2. If you collect SSDI on your spouse’s work record, your benefits may change.

Benefits collected on your spouse’s work record may continue after divorce, as long as you were married for at least ten years. However, if you were married for less than ten years, or you get remarried; or if you are entitled to a greater amount of benefits on your own work record, your benefits will be discontinued.

3. You may still be able to apply for benefits on your ex-spouse’s record.

Even after divorce, you can still qualify to collect SSDI benefits on your former spouse’s record if you were married for at least ten years; if you haven’t yet remarried; if you are over 62 years old; and if you can’t qualify for a larger benefit on your own.

4. Being divorced can help you qualify for Supplement Security Insurance.

Getting divorced will likely reduce your household income and total assets, which may in turn help you qualify for Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI), assuming that you are totally disabled and unable to support yourself.

5. The Social Security Administration (SSA) can garnish your benefits.

If you are ordered to pay child support or spousal support during or after divorce, your SSDI benefits can be garnished to satisfy these orders if you stop making the payments on your own. This means that the Social Security Administration will withhold a certain amount of money from your check each month and use it to pay your child support obligation. In addition, since most states treat SSDI income the same as any other income for child support purposes, the fact that receive SSDI benefits may increase the amount of support you will be required to pay.

6. A qualified family law attorney can help.

If you are dealing with divorce, and you are currently receiving SSDI payments or you hope to receive these payments in the future, please call DiPietro Family Law at 301.970.9286 to schedule a confidential appointment to discuss your options and resources.

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