Disability During a Divorce: How to Deal with Your Spouse’s Claimed Disability

During the divorce process, your spouse can claim disability and say they cannot work anymore. In this case, you can get hit with significant spousal support calculations. If you are in this situation, you must consult an experienced divorce lawyer in Massachusetts to know your options. Your lawyer can determine the disability claim’s legitimacy and come up with accurate calculations based on professional assessments of your situation. 

How a Spouse Can Claim Disability

A person can claim disability they cannot perform their job properly because of a physical or mental ailment.  They could be suffering from a temporary problem like a broken bone or long-term illness. A spouse who claims disability should prove the validity of their condition and that it truly prevents them from going to work. If their condition limits their ability to perform the work they did, the sufferer should also prove they are not fit for other jobs. 

Evaluating the Claimed Disability

Although you may not the veracity of your spouse’s disability, you must confirm the legitimacy of an illness when you might be paying spousal support. Conditions like anxiety and depression are not easy to prove. Your spouse may not be able to perform jobs that involve heavy lifting because of an injury; however, they may still be qualified to get a desk position. To confirm an affected spouse’s condition, the court will utilize independent medical exams and vocational assessments.

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Courts depend on independent medical exams for workers’ comp cases to assess the seriousness of a condition or injury. Medical experts carry out an exam and provide an official opinion that determines whether the patient can work and what kind of work, or if they have limitations. Moreover, a vocational evaluator will make use of the medical imitation that the examination may suggest to determine a person’s ability to function properly and do the requested duties of their job. 

How a Divorce Can Impact Existing Disability Benefits

When a spouse collects disability benefits before a divorce, their monthly supplement security income or SSI might increase. To determine the SSI they receive, the court includes the income of the beneficiary’s spouse in the calculations. However, spouses who get spousal support following the divorce should not expect a change in the amount.

Under the law, the SSI benefits a person gets during the marriage as marital property are not considered. This means that these benefits belong to the disabled party. 

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