On Wednesday afternoon, 20 couples gathered in front of a stage at the National Mall in Washington to recite their commitment vows. Some brides had on white gowns while grooms wore top hats. Others donned orange T-shirts printed with the words “Disability Rights Are Human Rights.”
For many people with disabilities, marriage can be a financial trap. Those who receive Supplemental Security Income, a Social Security program for disabled people and older adults with few assets and little to no income, are at risk of losing their modest monthly stipend and the Medicaid that comes with it if they marry.
According to the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, the nonprofit group that organized the rally, around 7.6 million Americans receive S.S.I. About a million more are classified as disabled adult children, a designation that qualifies recipients for Medicare and a small monthly Social Security stipend. They are also at risk of losing some or all of their benefits, if they become their partners’ legal spouses.
I was so worried: How would Marsha be without my daily visits? What if she became depressed and agitated during my absence? Would she somehow think...