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Eligible Couples

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

2123. Eligible Couples

2123.1 What is the income and resources limit for an eligible couple?

The income and resources limits for an eligible couple are higher, but less than twice the individual's limit. The couple's eligibility is established by comparing their combined countable income and resources with the applicable couple's limits.

2123.2 How is a couple's benefit computed?

An eligible couple's federal benefit is the difference between:

  1. The combined countable income of both members; and

  2. The couple's FBR.

Whatever benefit is due an eligible couple is usually paid in two equal payments, one to each spouse.

2123.3 When does "couple" status end?

The members of an eligible couple continue to be treated as such until:

  1. The marriage ends through death, divorce, or annulment; or

  2. The members of the couple begin living apart.

2123.4 How does SSA recognize a couple who shares a room in an institution?

We consider the members of an eligible couple who share a room in an institution as separated. We treat them as two eligible individuals for purposes of determining eligibility and payment amount.

Last Revised: March, 2001



There are 4 Comments

Im trying to figure out mother has been with her partner 14 yrs, they have lived together for she intitled to his ssi when he passes away..his wife passed away as well?

Social Security follows the laws of the state where the worker was residing at the time of death or the place where the worker is residing when the spouse applies for benefits. In order for a common law marriage to be valid, it must have been contracted in a state where common-law marriages are recognized. Many states do not honor common-law marriages, so you should check local laws.

Check here as well :

i have been with him 12 years now and am terrified to get married to him because i have so mt youd blow my mind. we have been staying together any health problems and dont wan't to loose my income or benefits because of a piece of paper and a dress and a day that would make me happy.

We had been and want to continue the way we maintain w/ paying on some of the bills and giving him money like rent twards the mortgage, and we do still have two separate room for each of us and seperate banking.

why should, or would us getting married be any different with keeping all of our bill and monies separate.. make me loose my money because, I want to take his last name and a ring! Please help me!! I have nowhere else to turn!! Please call if you have any questions..@ 555-111-2222. Why should my name change caue me to loose it all???


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