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With same-sex marriage comes SSI restrictions

For a little less than a year, same-sex couples have been able to marry in New Jersey. There have been a number of people finally able to wed the men and women with whom they have built their lives, but with marriage (both same-sex and different-sex) also comes restrictions. For one thing, if someone is looking to apply for Supplemental Security Income from the Social Security Administration, his or her spouse's income and assets may determine whether they get benefits.

Supplemental Security Income is a type of disability benefit for individuals who either have little income or who have not worked long enough to receive Social Security disability insurance benefits. Like with any disability benefits, there are very specific rules and regulations about who gets benefits, and if you and your spouse make too much money you may be ineligible.

Some people may say that the Social Security Administration does not need to know about your marital status, but as any disability benefits lawyer will tell you, it is required to tell the administration if you are married. Failing to do so could cause more problems down the road. Individuals who marry while receiving these benefits must also tell the administration of their change in marital status.

There are numerous factors that go into whether someone is eligible for Supplemental Security Income benefits, and being married (whether to a member of the same or opposite sex) is just one of those factors. Even if one spouse is completely disabled and has never worked a day in his or her life, he or she may be denied benefits if his or her spouse makes too much money.

Source: Investment News, "How gay couples can act on Social Security benefits now," Mary Beth Franklin, June 19, 2014

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