How Much Money Can Your Spouse Make if You Are Receiving SSDI in Pennsylvania?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a payroll-tax-funded insurance program managed by the Social Security Administration (SSA).  The program serves to support people who are disabled and have a qualifying work history, either through their employment or a family member.  SSDI provides monthly benefits to people who are unable to maintain steady employment.  There are limits to how much an SSDI claimant can make per month.  Accordingly, many claimants question if their spouse’s income affects their ability to receive SSDI benefits.

The amount of money your spouse makes will not affect your ability to receive SSDI benefits in Pennsylvania.  However, if you qualify for SSDI benefits through your parents, your benefits may be discontinued when you get married.  Our Pennsylvania disability lawyers can help injured workers understand how to qualify for SSDI benefits.

If you or a loved one receives or is considering applying for disability benefits through SSDI in Pennsylvania, get help recovering the benefits you deserve by calling the law firm of Young, Marr, Mallis & Deane at (215) 515-2954 for a free case review.

Effect of Spouse’s Income on SSDI Benefits in Pennsylvania

The SSA runs two separate programs that grant financial assistance based on severe, long-term disabilities, SSDI and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

The major difference between the two programs is that SSDI is based on disability and work credits, while SSI is based on age, disability, income and resources.  In other words, SSDI is intended for those who have earned sufficient work credits through prior work history.  Meanwhile, SSI is meant for claimants who have limited income and resources.  However, claimants for both SSDI and SSI may be disqualified if they earn too much money.

For SSDI claimants in Pennsylvania, the monthly income limit is referred to as a maximum amount of “substantial gainful activity.”  The limit for substantial gainful activity in Pennsylvania changes from year to year.  In 2022, the threshold of substantial gainful activity is $1,350.  Accordingly, if you are working in 2022 and make more than $1,350 per month, you will not qualify for SSDI benefits.  The gauge of substantial gainful activity only measures the claimant’s ability to perform work.

SSDI does not technically impose an income limit.  Accordingly, marriage should not affect your ability to receive SSDI benefits in Pennsylvania.  Your spouse’s income will only affect your ability to receive SSI benefits.  If you believe your benefits have been wrongly denied, our Philadelphia disability lawyers can help determine the right way forward in your case.

Effect of Spouse’s Income on SSDI Benefits Received Through Claimant’s Parents

There are certain circumstances where a spouse’s income can affect your SSDI benefits.  In some cases, claimants will receive SSDI benefits through their qualifying parent.  An adult child may qualify for SSDI benefits based on a parent’s work record if they meet each of these requirements:

  • They are at least 18 years old,
  • Their disability began before they turned 22,
  • They are not married, or their partner also qualifies for SSDI,
  • At least one of their parents receives SSDI benefits or is deceased and the remaining parent draws survivor’s benefits, and
  • They meet the SSA definition of “disabled.”

Therefore, if you are receiving SSDI benefits through a qualifying parent, those benefits will be discontinued upon marriage unless your spouse also receives SSDI benefits.  Furthermore, your spouse’s income will inhibit your ability to receive SSDI benefits through parents regardless of how much your spouse makes.

How Much Money Can a Spouse Make Under Trial Work Periods for Workers Receiving SSDI Benefits in Pennsylvania?

SSDI beneficiaries must suffer from a medical condition that significantly limits their ability to support themselves financially.  However, the SSA allows claimants to earn income under a trial work period.  The trial work period allows you to work and test whether or not you can once again support yourself financially.  If you are claiming SSDI benefits and thinking of returning to work, our Allentown disability lawyers can advise you on the amount of monthly earnings that may trigger a trial work period.

Some claimants may wonder if income acquired by a spouse will cause a trial work period to be triggered.  The amount of substantial gainful activity performed by an SSDI claimant will not be affected by a spouse’s income.  Accordingly, the amount of income brought in by a spouse will not be used to initiate a trial work period.

Entering a trial work period could lead to the termination of your SSDI benefits if you prove you are able to work.  Claimants should be sure they are ready to return before entering a trial work period.  Fortunately, the amount of money your spouse makes will not factor into the decision to enter a trial work period.

How Much Work Do You Need to Qualify for SSDI Benefits in Pennsylvania?

You must have worked long enough and recently enough under Social Security to receive SSDI benefits in Pennsylvania.  Your SSDI eligibility will be determined based on the amount of Social Security work credits you have acquired.  The number of work credits you need to qualify depends on your age when your disability begins.  Generally, 40 credits are required, 20 of which must have been earned in the 10 years before your disability begins.

Work credits are acquired through your earned wages.  The amount needed for a work credit changes from year to year.  In 2022, you earn one work credit for each $1,510 in wages or self-employment income.  When you have earned $6,040, you have acquired four credits for the year.  Our Bucks County disability lawyers can offer further guidance on how you to earn credits.

If You Were Injured and Want to Claim SSDI Benefits, Our Lawyers Can Help

If you suffer from a mental or physical injury that inhibits your ability to financially support yourself, seek assistance from experienced Springfield disability lawyers by calling the law firm of Young, Marr, Mallis & Deane at (215) 515-2954 for a free case review.