A marriage is meant to be an overwhelmingly positive affair; one fill with love and happiness and, outside of some stress of planning the big day, devoid of major negative consequences. When a couple who receives Social Security benefits enters a marriage, a sometimes-debilitating loss to income may not be on the forefront of their minds. However, getting married can eliminate most, if not all, of a person’s Social Security Disability benefits. As a consequence, far too many people have had to forego marriage because the union would reduce or even terminate their benefits.
Consider a disabled couple who have been together for five years. One has achondroplasia and spinal stenosis – a form of dwarfism. The other has cerebral palsy. Despite their physical conditions, they have a loving relationship. And yet, they cannot get married. Or, rather, the financial consequences of doing so would be prohibitive. That is because they would lose much of their disability benefits – a situation that confronts many people with disabilities. Couples who live together do not face the so-called marriage penalty. But the couple cannot go the cohabitation route: It violates their spiritual beliefs.
The issue has been around for some time. But thus far politicians have been unable or unwilling to come up with a solution that puts married and unmarried couples on par with each other.
The marriage penalty is just one of many issues lurking for New Jersey residents who are seeking or trying to maintain Social Security Disability benefits. Residents of New Jersey wondering what the right move for them is may benefit from discussing their situation with an experienced Social-Security-disability-benefits attorney.