Welcome to Watson & Carroll


DisabilityWhat Happens To Disability In A Divorce?

December 1, 2022

Sometimes, people in love grow apart. No matter the reason, sometimes ending a marriage is the best option for both. The separation of property and assets is often confusing in a divorce process. Here’s another wrench: What happens to disability benefits if one person has been receiving them throughout the relationship? Is the former spouse entitled to a share of that income? 

If you are getting a divorce or are recently divorced, this is likely a pretty big concern. In this blog post, Watson & Carroll, P.C., LLO, discusses disability benefits after a divorce. 

Social Security Disability Lawyer in Nebraska and Iowa

Watson & Carroll, P.C., L.L.O.’s Social Security Disability team can help you secure benefits needed  to support yourself. Chellsie Weber, our wildly successful and experienced disability attorney, and Abby Reid, our wonderful and thorough disability paralegal, can offer support and advice as it pertains to your disability and the benefits approval process. Remember, you’re more likely to have a successful disability claim with an attorney by your side. Call us today at 402-991-2100. You also can share your story here.

Divorce and Disability Benefits 

There are two kinds of disability benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Both require specific medical criteria to be met, but SSDI is based on your work history and credits earned, while SSI is based on your financial need and stringent income-based and asset guidelines. 

The Social Security Act states that disability payments are not subject to “levy or attachment.”

Because SSI is based on financial criteria, then you may actually see an increase in your monthly benefits after a divorce because your spouse’s income and assets will no longer be counted. 

SSDI, on the other hand, is determined based on your work history, so your divorce should not affect the amount of disability benefits you receive—unless you owe past due court-ordered alimony or child support, in which case your SSDI benefits could be garnished. 

SSDI benefits are considered income and are taken into account when determining alimony and child support. SSI payments — again, based on financial need — are not.

At the same time, while SSDI benefits are not considered marital property in most situations, depositing those funds into a joint bank account could lead to those funds being divided equally in a divorce case. 

Generally, SSDI benefits are considered income and are taken into account when determining alimony. Need-based SSI payments are not.

What is My Ex Entitled To After a Divorce? 

After a divorce, your ex-spouse could be entitled to Social Security retirement benefits or Social Security disability benefits. While your ex-spouse may not have applied for the benefits, he or she could apply if they qualify and are age 62 or older. If you were married at least 10 years or longer and have been divorced two years, you can draw benefits off the former spouse’s earnings. Your ex-spouse filing for retirement or disability benefits based on your earnings will not reduce the amount that you receive.

How Do I File A Disability Claim? 

If you are disabled, and unable to work and earn a living, you may qualify for disability benefits. If you are divorced, you may be able to receive benefits off of your spouse’s earnings. Contact a disability attorney with Watson & Carroll, P.C., L.L.O., to discuss your situation and to determine if you may qualify for disability benefits after a divorce. 

About Watson & Carroll 

Watson & Carroll, P.C., L.L.O., is not a high-volume law firm that only speaks with clients when it is absolutely necessary. For us, it’s personal. Our team works closely with our clients and their loved ones – not only so that we understand their challenges and concerns, but so we can tailor our approach to address those factors, aggressively pursue results, and secure peace of mind. Whether it is a medical malpractice case or advocating for disability benefits, we work to protect our clients and make sure their rights are upheld. 

Our firm can help. Call 402-991-2100 or email contact@watsoncarroll.com. You also can fill out our confidential contact form.

Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota

Follow us:

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

© 2021 All Rights Reserved.

Watson & Carroll, P.C., L.L.O.