Can Marriage Work If You’re Married With a Disabled Spouse?

If you’re married to a disabled spouse, you might be wondering if you can still get Social Security Disability benefits. This is possible, as long as you meet certain qualifications. The SSA uses a complex formula to determine how much the two partners’ combined incomes must be. As of 2015, the combined countable income of both spouses must be less than $1,100 per month.

In addition to reducing the need for financial assistance, marriage may also prevent your disabled spouse from losing Medicare or Medicaid coverage. These programs can be important for people with disabilities, because private health insurance doesn’t cover many of the expenses related to their disability. And even if your disabled spouse is able to work, their employer may not offer adequate health insurance. While these issues don’t make marriage illegal for a disabled spouse, they can make it feel like an official disapproval or a violation of basic human rights.

To end the stigma that married disabled people face, candidates should introduce legislation to remove such barriers. This is a morally-compelling issue, and should be a priority for 2020 candidates. But it’s not the most important disability issue. However, it’s a good place to start.

A new law in Pennsylvania has made it easier for married women to get Medicaid benefits. This bill, known as the Medical Assistance for Workers With Disabilities Act, has expanded the eligibility for the state program. It now allows married women to continue to receive Medicaid, which was previously impossible due to income thresholds.