Can I Apply for Disability If My Husband or Wife Gets Disability?

Question

My husband is getting disability. Will this prevent me from getting disability for breast cancer?

Answer

Individuals can apply for disability even if their husband or wife gets disability. Whether this will affect the outcome depends on whether the individual is applying for  Social Security disability (SSDI) or SSI.

If you're applying for SSDI, meaning you have paid FICA taxes for the required number of years, it does not matter if your husband or wife is receiving disability benefits or what the amount of your husband or wife's disability benefit amount is. SSDI is not based upon need; therefore there is no limit to the amount of income in the household.

This is not the case with the need-based Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability program; the SSI program has income limits. Before an individual is approved for SSI disability, their spouse's disability benefit must be taken into consideration. There is a maximum amount of income that couples can receive on SSI. (Learn more about  marital income  and  countable income  for SSI.) Additionally, if your spouse is receiving SSI benefits and you become entitled to Social Security disability insurance benefits, there is a good chance that your disability income will terminate your spouse's eligibility to receive SSI disability.

Learn more about  financial eligibility for disability benefits, including how various types of income can affect your eligibility.

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