How Getting Married Could Affect Social Security Benefits
If you're in receipt of Social Security benefits and are planning to marry, there are some important things you should know. Your benefits may be reduced by the income your spouse earns. For example, if your husband receives £300 from another source, that money would be deducted from your SSI payment. This would leave you with £395 in monthly benefits. Similarly, if your husband earns more than £700, your benefits could be eliminated.
Income exclusions for SSI
The SSI program does not consider income earned by a spouse that is not receiving benefits as an exclusion from SSI benefits. This provision may be applied if both members of a couple are eligible for SSI. However, it is important to consider whether a marriage will affect an individual's SSI benefits.
The SSA considers a spouse's SSI benefits based on their "countable income." For example, it does not count food stamps or income tax refunds. Additionally, SSA subtracts £375 per child from a married spouse's income, and £750 per child, for two children. This means that a spouse's income must be less than the combined income of the spouses. A spouse's income from a company pension, IRA income, or a portion of a spousal pension is not counted as a spouse's income.
However, it is important to note that there are deeming situations in which income exclusions may apply. For example, in some cases, a spouse will receive a living allowance based on his or her federal benefit rate, while another spouse will not be eligible for SSI.
Counting an ineligible spouse's income for SSI
Counting an ineligible spouse's income for social security benefits is a complex process. This step involves determining the ineligible spouse's countable earned and unearned income. Depending on the SSI rules, some of this income may not count. We'll discuss these situations in detail in the following paragraphs.
The SSI program provides monthly payments to people in need of financial assistance. The maximum federal benefit for a single person is set by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and is adjusted annually for inflation. Any additional income that a recipient might have from work or other sources will reduce his or her benefit amount. For 2022, the maximum benefit is £841 per month. For married couples, the maximum federal benefit is £1261 per month. The government also takes into account the combined income of both spouses when determining a joint payment.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a complicated formula for determining an eligible spouse's income. However, the guidelines for determining an ineligible spouse's income include subtracting £420 per child from his or her income, adding up all other income, and excluding income from IRAs and company pensions. The guidelines also include a budget reference chart to help calculate eligibility with deeming.
Coordination of benefits with spouse's benefits
Coordinating your social security benefits with your spouse's can help you get the most out of your payments. You can claim your benefits on the same earnings record, or you can use a split strategy where you claim your benefit at different ages. If your spouse earns more than you do, you may want to delay claiming your benefit until you are both full retirement age. The SSA's website offers free and paid calculators for coordinating benefits.
The most important thing to remember about coordinating benefits is that you need to maximise your benefit. You can maximise your benefits by working for at least ten years and contributing 40 credits to your social security account. In general, the higher your earnings are, the higher your benefits will be. If you are married, you can choose to coordinate your benefits with your spouse's benefits by applying for a restricted application. This will allow your spouse to receive your benefit when you reach full retirement age.
Aside from coordinating benefits with your spouse, you can also use salary-splitting strategies to optimise your benefits. These strategies can allow you to claim benefits at different ages and may increase your benefits in the long run. However, these strategies have certain limitations and you should seek the advice of a financial planner to help you make the most of them.
West Virginia increases a family's monthly benefit when there is a legal marriage
While the federal government provides the same amount of supplemental security income to all states, many provide additional supplementary payments to valid recipients. West Virginia, however, does not support SSI in the same way as other states. It only pays the federal minimum benefits and approves claims at a lower rate than the national average. SSI is calculated prospectively based on a family's income, marital status and state.
While the application process is stringent in West Virginia, the process is not nearly as complex as it may sound. A qualified attorney can walk you through the application process step-by-step and make sure your benefits are calculated correctly. An experienced attorney can also explain all of the legal requirements and explain how SSI payments work.