Disability Benefits and Alimony: Could You Still Receive Alimony If Your Spouse is Disabled?

a man with an electric wheelchair

Ending a marriage is not always easy, and financial matters could further complicate a divorce. In most marriages, one spouse is usually the breadwinner, but this could change depending on certain circumstances, particularly if the breadwinner becomes disabled and loses his or her ability to work.

What if your soon-to-be-ex-spouse, who’s also the breadwinner, is on disability benefits? You might be wondering how this could impact your spousal support or alimony payments when your divorce gets finalized.

Alimony and Disability Benefits

If your spouse receives SSDI or Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, getting divorced won’t have any effect on those payments, meaning your spouse would still receive the benefits. If necessary, however, the court could garnish those SSDI benefits to satisfy your spouse’s alimony obligations to you.

Garnishment is a method for collecting money owed on court judgments by requiring that the payor, in this case, Social Security, pay some or all of the benefits directly to you, explains a top divorce attorney from a renowned divorce law firm in Kent. Note though, that this only applies to SSDI benefits and not SSI or Social Security Insurance benefits. Bearing this in mind, you might qualify for alimony if:

  • Your marriage lasted for 10 or more years;
  • You haven’t remarried;
  • You’re 62 years old or older; and
  • You don’t qualify for bigger Social Security benefits based on your earning/employment record or lack thereof

It’s also important to note that if your ex-spouse passes away after your divorce has been finalized, depending on certain conditions, you might still qualify to receive auxiliary SSDI benefits.

Divorce is rarely easy even for couples that mutually decide to separate because of the many issues that need to be resolved. Likewise, alimony rules and eligibility vary widely from one state to another. With this in mind, work with an experienced lawyer if you’re considering filing for divorce to increase your chances of getting the best possible results for your case.