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NY Congressman Seeks to End Marriage Penalty for SSI Recipients

Posted by Sean J. Denvir | Jul 25, 2019 | 0 Comments

People who are disabled rely on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to survive. Without SSI, many New Yorkers with intellectual disabilities or those with developmental disabilities would not be able to survive. Unfortunately, federal law puts these benefits at risk if the individual decided to get married. 

A bill has been introduced that would end the marriage penalty for individuals with intellectual disabilities. The Social Security Act requires people with intellectual disabilities (ID) and developmental disabilities (DD) to jointly report incomes when they are married. As a result, this could reduce the SSI income of one or both individuals. When two ID/DD individuals get married, they risk losing some of their benefits. 

House Bill to Remove Marriage Barrier for SSI Recipients

The Marriage Access for People with Special Abilities Act (MAPSA), or HR 1529, is sponsored by New York Congressman John Katko and co-sponsored by Massachusetts Congressman Bill Keating. The bill would clarify that SSI benefits for individuals with ID/DD would not be affected by marital status. If passed, only the individual income and resources of each individual would be reviewed to determine benefits. Additionally, these individuals would have access to Medicaid benefits by virtue of qualifying for SSI benefits. 

According to Congressman Keating, “Ensuring people with intellectual or developmental disabilities have every chance to choose their path in life, especially when it comes to forming their own families, is a fundamental right.”

The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) supports MAPSA, as a way to allow those with ID/DD to pursue the opportunities that come with building families. According to the NDSS, “living with an ID/DD is incredibly expensive, and there are few economies of scale that can come about when two individuals with ID/DD wish to join and create one household. Each has unique personal care needs, medical expenses, job supports and other supportive services that allow them to function independently in their communities. As a result, most adults with ID/DD cannot choose to be married without losing the necessities that allow them to function independently.”

Legal Assistance for People Seeking Social Security Disability Benefits

SSD benefits are available to Americans who are not able to work because of physical disability, intellectual disability, or developmental disability. A denied claim does not mean that you do not deserve SSI benefits. An initial claim can be denied for any reason, including a paperwork mix-up or not filling out the right form. At Ryan Roach & Ryan LLP, we provide legal assistance for those seeking Social Security Disability Benefits in the Hudson Valley.

Help With Your SSI Benefits in Ulster County, New York

The lawyers at Ryan Roach & Ryan, LLP understand the hurdles, regulations, and restrictions that go along with getting monthly SSI benefits. Even though you may be owed these benefits, the Social Security Administration does not make it easy to get the benefits you are owed. 

Our Supplemental Security Income lawyers will work with you through the appeals process to get the maximum benefits you deserve. If your claim is denied, we will help you file an appeal so that your SSI determination will be reconsidered. If you are denied a second time, we can request a hearing with a federal judge. 

At Ryan Roach & Ryan, LLP, we work with SSI clients from the beginning to the end to make sure your rights are protected. For experienced legal representation in filing for SSI, contact a Kingston, New York, SSI lawyer at 800-901-2525. 

About the Author

Sean J. Denvir

Areas of Practice Probate Litigation Wills & Estates Trusts Real Estate Commercial Real Estate Residential Corporate LLC / Business Setup


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