In general, both spouses can get Social Security Disability at the same time. However, because each disability benefits program has its own qualifications, some programs make this much easier than others.
It is possible for couples to both draw Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, providing they otherwise meet each program’s requirements.
How Can Both Spouses Get Disability Benefits at the Same Time?
The only way you and your spouse can both draw disability at the same time is if you both qualify under the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) rules. You both must have a disability that prevents you from working, is likely to last at least a year, or will lead to your death.
You and your spouse must submit medical documentation that satisfies the SSA’s specified criteria for impairments. If you cannot work due to a disability, you may qualify for benefits. Either your doctor or one from the SSA will review your medical history to determine if your condition prevents you from working and qualifies you for benefits.
Both you and your spouse will need to discuss your condition with your doctor. It is important that you inform your doctor about how your disability affects your daily life. Your doctor plays a key role in documenting your impairment, which is essential to applying for disability benefits and winning your claim. Sometimes, vital evidence can get lost in the go-between, which may have caused your denial of benefits. We can ensure the SSA has the appropriate information from your medical providers.
For a free legal consultation, call 412-661-1400
How Can My Spouse and I Meet the Eligibility Requirements for SSDI?
As long as you both can prove you suffer an impairment that prevents you from working and you meet the work credit requirements for SSDI you can both receive benefits. The SSA reviews your qualifying criteria on their own merits. Your spouse’s impairment, income, or other factors do not affect your application.
Because of the nature of the program, the SSA requires you to work long enough to earn a certain number of work credits based on your age. Both you and your spouse will need to have sufficient individual work histories to qualify for SSDI benefits.
If you or your spouse are still doing some work, it must be under the substantial gainful activity (SGA) limit. If neither of you can work—or you work in only an extremely limited capacity—you should meet this requirement. Since your SGA does not include income not earned through working, you may qualify for disability even if you have additional household income from investments, retirement, or other sources.
What if We Do Not Qualify for SSDI?
You and your spouse may qualify for SSI benefits even if you live together. You must both meet the disability and income requirements, though.
SSI does not only consider your individual income; it takes other forms of household income into account, including your spouse’s SSDI or SSI benefits. If both you and your spouse have SSI benefits, both of you may see a reduction of benefits if you live in the same household. You may no longer qualify for SSI benefits if your spouse gets SSDI and your household exceeds the SSI limit.
If your spouse qualifies for SSDI but you lack the necessary work history—but you meet the other program qualifications—it may be possible to get approval for SSI if you meet the income and resources guidelines. Our attorneys can determine if you qualify in this situation.
What Our Disability Lawyers Can Do to Help
The disability lawyers at Berger and Green can help you determine if you and your spouse both qualify for benefits. We will take a detailed look at your work history and financial information to check if your family qualifies for monthly benefits from SSI or SSDI.
If you received a denial of benefits from either program, we can also file your appeal. Depending on your circumstances, you may have to request a reconsideration or a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. Our lawyers can guide you through the process step by step.
We Can Request a Reconsideration of Your Claim
The first step in appealing a denial of SSA benefits is to request a reconsideration from the department that originally handled your claim. A simple error on a form may have prompted a denial, and reconsideration may address this issue.
We Can Request a Hearing with an Administrative Law Judge
If the SSA upholds its original denial of benefits, we can continue fighting for you by requesting a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). You may be able to attend a hearing in person or via video conference, and we will prepare you beforehand.
We Can Request a Review By the SSA Appeals Council
If the ALJ agrees with the original decision, we can request a review of your denial by the Appeals Council. This department will either send your appeal back to the ALJ or decide your case itself.
We Can Request a Review with the Federal Court
If you still face a denial of benefits, we can ask for a review with the Federal Court. Our disability lawyers are not afraid to do what it takes to fight for your benefits.
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See What Our Disability Lawyers Can Do for You
If your spouse already receives disability benefits and you believe you may also qualify, the legal team from Berger and Green can help. We can explain how your approval could affect your family’s current benefits and review your application.
If the SSA denied your benefits, we can look into why and fight for the monthly payments and back benefits you may deserve. Call us at (412) 661-1400 for a free consultation and learn about how our disability lawyers can help you and your family.