A person receiving Social Security Disability Income who is in the process of a divorce may be concerned about getting to keep that SSDI, or how the receipt of alimony affects SSDI. For a spouse receiving SSDI, that income is counted as regular income in determining whether alimony will be awarded. The court will look at that, as well as any other sources of income, in determining whether or not to award alimony. Courts have discretion in awarding alimony, and can take into consideration that your income is related to a disability in choosing to award alimony.
Normally, SSDI benefits are not considered marital property. Therefore, if a separate account is established that contains only disability benefits, the court would most likely not consider that as marital property, and probably would not divide it among both spouses. The court can, however, consider that disability money in calculating how the other assets should be divided.
If you receive SSDI, and you are awarded alimony, this will not affect the amount of SSDI you will receive. However, the court will factor in your disability benefits in determining the amount of alimony you receive. If you are ordered to pay alimony and you are receiving SSDI, if you fail to pay your SSDI benefits may be garnished. This means that the Social Security Administration would pay the money directly to your former spouse rather than to you.
If you are in the process of a divorce and you are receiving SSDI or SSI, you should speak with an attorney. It’s important to negotiate alimony carefully during the divorce process, especially when government benefits are involved.
Call Florida alimony attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250. He works in the divorce courts in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties and will be happy to provide you with a consultation on your case. Call to learn more.