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How does divorce or separation effect my SSI benefits?

For New Jersey residents who are seeking or are already receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for being disabled, blind, 65 or older and with limited resources, getting and keeping their benefits goes beyond meeting the initial requirements. Since many people who are getting SSI benefits are married and a significant proportion of marriages end in divorce, it is important to know what information the Social Security Administration (SSA) must receive regarding separation or a divorce in the context of SSI.

When the SSI recipient and his or her spouse are no longer living together, the SSA must be informed immediately so it can be determined if there should be a change to the benefits. In addition, there are certain questions that must be answered. The SSA must know: when the couple ceased living in the same residence; if they are planning on living together once again; when that will be; where the other person is now living; and if either of the parties are living with someone else in a marital relationship.

There must also be evidence presented regarding the end of the marriage. If it was due to the death of the spouse, the SSA will accept the information that the person died except in cases where there is other evidence that this is not the truth. If evidence is needed, the death certificate should be provided if possible. If that is not possible, the person must say why and give some form of evidence. If there is a divorce or annulment, the decree must be shown to the SSA. If that is not possible, the person must say why and provide other evidence. If there is another reason, the SSA must get information about it.

Although it might sound like a small issue, failure to provide the necessary information as it happens can have a negative effect on the SSI benefits including, possibly, ending them entirely. When there is a change to the marriage situation, letting the SSA know is critical.

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Hasbrouck Heights, NJ 07604

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