Will Income from my Spouse Affect My Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits? No. Spousal earnings do not impact SSDI benefits.
SSI vs. SSD regarding Spousal Income
Your spouse’s income only matters for SSI. There is a difference between SSI and SSD. If you are legally married and are living with your spouse, then the Social Security Administration will ‘deem’ part of your spouse’s income as available to you, which could result in you receiving a reduced SSI benefit. SSI is a “needs based program”. This reduction makes sense, the less your financial ‘need’, the less your benefit should be. In 2021, if you and your spouse have no children and your spouse makes $397 or less, it will not impact your benefit. If it is more than $397 per month, his or her income is subject to ‘deeming’. One child amongst the two of you raises that amount to $794. $397 is added for each additional child. For a family of 5, spousal income can be up to $1,588 ($397 + ($397 x 3 children)) with no penalty.
Calculate Your Individual Benefit
To estimate how much of your spouse’s income will be deemed to you and ultimately what your individual benefit would be, you can perform the following calculations.
- Deduct $397 for each child from your spouse’s income.
- Add the figure you came up with in #1 to any income you have.
- There are many deduction from countable income for SSI, but the most common is the $85 exclusion for income. Thus deduct $85 from the figure in #2.
- Divide the figure in #3 by 2.
- This is the spousal income that is deemed to you.
- Subtract the figure in #5 from the SSI limit for a couple (2021 it’s $1,191)
- If the figure in #6 is positive, your benefit will be that amount, but capped at the maximum for individual’s, which is $794.
Example: Spouse’s salary $12,000 per year, no children. Thus, your spouse makes $1,000 per month and there is no other household income.
- $1,000 (-) $0,00 (no $397 per child deduction)
- $1,000 (+) $0.00 (no personal income additional)
- $1,000 (-) $85 = $915
- $915 (/) 2 = $457.50
- $457.50 is spousal income deemed to you
- $1,191 (-) $457.50 = $733.50
- Your benefit would be $733.50, which is less than the maximum benefit of $794