Not affiliated with the US Social Security Administration


Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at


2122. Marriage

2122.1 How does marriage affect SSI benefits?

Marriage helps determine whether:

  1. There is an eligible couple (rather than two eligible individuals);

  2. The rules for deeming income and resources apply if a spouse is not eligible (see §2167); or

  3. An individual under age 22 is a child who qualifies for special income exclusions.

2122.2 When are a man and woman considered married?

A man and woman are married for SSI purposes if:

  1. They are living in the same household and are married under the laws of their State;

  2. They are holding themselves out as husband and wife to the community in which they live; or

  3. One is entitled, as the spouse of the other, to Social Security benefits.

2122.3 When does SSA evaluate the existence of a marriage?

We generally evaluate the existence of a marriage as of the first day of a month. However, there are exceptions:

  1. If both members of an eligible couple file an application in the same month, we evaluate couple status for that month on the first day of the month following the date the application is filed; and

  2. If both members of a formerly eligible couple seek reinstatement as a couple in the same month, we evaluate couple status for that month as of the latest request for reinstatement.

2122.4 Who is considered the spouse if marriage status changes?

The spouse you were living with at the beginning of a month is your spouse for SSI purposes, regardless of changes later in the month. For example, a "holding-out" spouse with whom you are living takes precedence over a legally married spouse from whom you are separated.

Last Revised: March, 2001

Sponsored Links

Recent Content

Before Freezing Credit, Consider Opening Social Security Online Account

A report states that, in order to establish an online Social Security account at, the Social Security Administration must have access to your credit report to verify your identification.

Thus, before freezing your credit (to mitigate the risk of recent hacks), consider setting up an account at first.

National Social Security Advisor Certification Available

If you're looking for advice on Social Security benefits, it may be useful to find someone with the "National Social Security Advisor" certification.

Although the NSSA appears to be a privately issued certificate, it seems to convey some level of knowledge about Social Security benefits. Finding a financial advisor with NSSA certification may be something worth exploring.


Sponsored Links

Not affiliated with the US Social Security Administration