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What happens with my disability benefits when I divorce?

On Behalf of | Dec 7, 2018 | family law and divorce, Firm News | 0 comments

If you ask most couples what motivated them to pursue a divorce, then they’ll likely tell you infidelity, joblessness, kids leaving the home, falling out of love and divergent careers. It’s not all that uncommon for couples to split up because a spouse develops mental health issues or becomes physically disabled either. If you receive disability benefits, then you may wonder what happens to them once you divorce.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

The amount of SSDI that you receive is based how recently you worked in a role in which Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) was taken out from your paycheck.

If you’re eligible to receive benefits, then it’s important to note that the monthly payment that you are allocated won’t be modified if you divorce. It is possible, however, for a portion of the funds that you receive to be garnished to help pay child support or alimony if you’re ordered to pay these though.

Individuals who are 50 or older and were married to a deceased, fully insured ex-spouse for 10 years or more are generally eligible to collect benefits based on their ex’s work record. A divorce or remarriage doesn’t impact the amount of benefits that they’re able to receive in this situation.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Although SSDI benefits are awarded only to those who have paid into the system, the allocation of SSI support is based on need. An individual who gets divorced may lose a significant amount in income necessary to pay for basic living expenses. This is especially the case if property division and alimony talks aren’t ruled on in their favor.

If a recipient is able to document their lack of support to pay their bills, then the Social Security Administration (SSA) may increase your benefits. If they do, then you’ll find it helpful to know that they can’t be garnished to pay alimony or child support that you may owe.

When a couple decides to divorce, it can leave both spouses with a lot of financial uncertainty in their lives. While the general rule about property division in Michigan is that all things brought into the marriage should be divided up 50-50, there are exceptions to this rule. A Trenton family law and divorce attorney can explain what those are and guide you as you seek to get a favorable resolution in ending your marriage.