Individuals who receive SSD benefits have faced many challenges in their lives. Dealing with a disability can be very hard, and the process to obtain benefits is not an easy task. In the event that they are approved, nearly any change in their situation can impact the benefits that they receive. This includes walking down the aisle.
Two people reportedly fighting for the ability to marry and become an independent couple live on the opposite outskirts of a small town and part ways everyday after work. The individuals have serious health conditions that make it impossible to work. They both receive SSD benefits, which is where the problems start.
Together, they would have each other to fill the gaps created by their disabilities. But living together out of wedlock runs contrary to their spiritual beliefs. A marriage certificate would result in their SSD being calculated as combined income and slash modest government-benefits significantly.
And, the issues revolving around marriage and people with disabilities can be far more complex than receiving enough cash to cover the basic needs of food, clothing and shelter. The government also places “resource limits” on those receiving benefits and reduces that amount for married couples. For example, an individual could be allowed to have up to $2,000 in the bank. While it would make sense that a disabled married couple would be allowed more to fall back in order to sustain their independence, the opposite is true. Married couples can be allowed to keep as little as $3,000 as backup or a 25 percent reduction if they remain single. A legal marriage can also trigger the reduction or loss of medical coverage.
Politicians on both sides of the aisle have frequently debated what has become known as the “marriage penalty.” If bipartisanship could ever be reached, one would think that it would be supporting those with the greatest obstacles in life to fulfill their dream of a family of their own.
However, until the government fixes the uncertainties facing people with disabilities, contact an attorney to discuss all of your SSD questions to fully understand the process and benefits you may be entitled to receive.