Social Security benefits if you get married

Why you can lose your Social Security benefits if you get married

The Social Security Administration can fine you and even take away your benefits for a while if you don’t notify them of a marital status change.
Getting married is probably one of the most important future plans you decide on for the rest of your life. And thinking about the romantic and loving moment is fine, but you cannot ignore the fact that your financial life will change and your Social Security benefits are no exception.
It is important that those who are receiving retirement or disability income or benefits from the Supplemental Security Income program should report any change in their marital status. Similarly, the Social Security Administration (SSA) must find out if as a result of your marriage, your name changes and also your mailing address.

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According to the law, all married couples, regardless of whether they are of the same sex, will be able to receive Social Security benefits for their spouse or survivors from November 2021, thanks to a legal change. But to be entitled to it, you must report any marriage, divorce or other change in marital status.
Notifying SSA of these changes must be done no later than 10 days after the end of the month in which the change in status occurred, if you do not do so within this time period, you may even lose your benefits.

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What happens if you don’t tell the SSA your new marital status

You may be subject to sanctions. For example, if you get married but have not collected retirement income, the SSA can fine you and you will also have to repay any overpayments. They could also take away the payments that continue to be collected.
The same happens with disability income and SSI benefits, the SSA can take them away at any time, if it finds out about a change in your marital status, which you did not report. The sanctions in all cases can range from suspending your benefits for six months and up to 12 or 24 months for subsequent violations.

To report your new marriage, the SSA will require a certificate, a public record marriage certificate, a certified statement from a religious marriage record, or a foreign record of your marriage if you were married abroad.
While notifying your marital status change will not change your benefits, the importance of doing so is that SSA needs to identify you if you have decided to change your name or mailing address. You will not receive your benefits if your names do not match. It may also be the case that if you receive a check, the postal mail sends it to the above address.