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Petitioning Social Security Administration

Marriage for Disabled Individuals.

My name is Sherri Daniel, and I am madly in love. My partner of four years, Bill, is the best thing that has happened to me. We want nothing more than to get married. Yet if we do, the government will punish us by taking away over 25% of our household income.

Bill and I have disabilities. I haven't been able to walk for 13 years and am confined to a power chair. Bill also uses a power chair most of the time, and a communicator to speak for him. Each of these chairs -- just some of our many expenses -- costs more than a car. Without our monthly Social Security Insurance (SSI) benefits, we would not survive. But SSI penalizes people for getting married, lowering their collective income to 75% of what they made individually. This would ruin us. People with disabilities shouldn’t have to choose between love and surviving.

Please join me in calling on the Social Security Administration to drop its discriminatory marriage penalty and make marital status irrelevant to determining monthly benefits.

Living together without getting married is also not an option for us, as Bill is a deacon at his church and it goes against our religious views. But it’s not just about our religious beliefs and wanting to marry out of love -- there are many benefits and legal protections that only marriage provides.

Until this marriage penalty is lifted, Bill and I will not be able to get married. We simply cannot afford to lose the money we receive to pay for medical care. Because we have no choice in the matter, this is an issue of equality; of the denial of basic protections that others can receive.

Other income assistance programs, like the Earned Income Tax Credit, have already awakened to this discriminatory practice and dropped marriage penalties. SSI is the last remaining program to distinguish marital status when determining benefits. Please, let’s call on the Social Security Administration to leave this hurtful policy behind. Please sign my petition.

Thank you.

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