Written by attorney Brett Ryan Wishart

Social Security Disability Benefits: Are They Subject to Division upon Divorce?

Currently, Social Security Disability benefits received by a married person are considered his or her separate property in dissolution actions. That means that they are not subject to division at the time of divorce. This may also include retroactive disability payments, depending on when received. Social Security disability payments are not subject to California's community property laws because they are controlled by the Social Security Act, which is federal law. Federal law trumps state law, i.e., California’s community property laws. It is settled law that Social Security benefits are treated as the employee spouse’s separate property and are not subject to a community property division upon dissolution.

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