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How does my living situation affect my Title II benefit?

Unlike SSI and other means-tested public benefit programs, Title II benefits are not affected by where you live or if you receive help with your living costs. If someone helps pay your rent, your Title II benefit will not be reduced.

Certain life events, however, such as marriage and death, can affect your Title II benefits or trigger eligibility for Title II.

A happily married middle aged couple.

Social Security Child Disability Beneficiary (SSCDB) and Marriage

If your spouse receives a Title II benefit, such as SSDI or SSCDB, you will not lose your SSCDB benefit due to marriage.

If you marry someone who is not eligible for Title II benefits, however, you will lose your eligibility for Social Security CDB benefits.

Examples:

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and marriage

Two elderly people going over their finances.

Marriage will not affect your eligibility for SSDI. If you receive SSDI and your spouse retires or dies, the total benefit amount you receive might change.

Please see the information below on Survivor’s benefits and Other spousal benefits for more information.

Survivors Benefits

When a person who is insured with Social Security dies, their family members may qualify for Title II benefits based on the deceased person’s work record. These benefits are generally called “Survivors Benefits.”

A child of a parent who has died may receive up to 75% of the parent’s Social Security benefit. This benefit, called child’s benefits, is usually paid monthly until the child turns age 18 or 19. The child does not need to have a disability to qualify.

Once the child becomes an adult, they may continue to receive these benefits if they have a disability that meets Social Security’s rules. The adult benefit changes to Social Security Child Disability Benefits.

A spouse of someone who has died may be eligible for “spousal benefits” based on the deceased person’s work record. The surviving spouse does not need to have a disability to qualify. Eligibility rules depend on age and other factors:

  • The surviving spouse can receive spousal benefits at any age if they are taking care of the deceased spouse’s child, and
    • The child is under age 16, or
    • The child has a disability and is collecting Social Security benefits.

The surviving spouse may qualify for spousal benefits at age 60 or older. If they receive the benefit before their own full retirement age, the amount will be reduced. (If the spouse is caring for a child under 16 or the child has a disability, the benefit may not be reduced.)

If the spouse is divorced from the person, they must also meet the following rules to qualify:

  • The marriage must have lasted for at least 10 years, or
  • They are taking care of the deceased spouse’s child, and
    • The child is under age 16, or
    • The child has a disability and is collecting Social Security benefits.

There are special rules for surviving spouses between ages 50 and 60 with a disability. These spouses may be eligible for “Disabled Widow’s or Widower’s Benefits (DWB).

If you have parents who are 62 or older and they were dependent on you when you died (at the time of your death, you provided at least half of their support), your parents may be eligible for benefits based on your record.

Other Spousal Benefits

If a person retires and collects Social Security retirement benefits, or is disabled and collects Title II benefits, their spouse may qualify for “spousal benefits” based on the person’s work record.

The spouse may qualify for spousal benefits at age 62 or older. If they receive the benefit before their own full retirement age, the amount will be reduced. (If the spouse is caring for a child under 16 or the child has a disability, the benefit may not be reduced.)

If the spouse is divorced from the person, they must also meet the following rules to qualify:

  • The marriage must have lasted for at least 10 years, or
  • They are taking care of the deceased spouse’s child, and
    • The child is under age 16, or
    • The child has a disability and is collecting Social Security benefits.
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