Sunday, November 18, 2012

Social Security Doesn't Allow the Disabled to Marry

There are multiple kinds of disability benefits. I'm going to touch on THREE (3) kinds that fall within the 'disability' benefit category.

  1. SSDI/DAC 'Adult Disabled Child'
    The SSDI program pays benefits to adults who have a disability that began before they became 22 years old. We consider this SSDI benefit as a “child’s” benefit because it is
paid on a parent’s Social Security earnings record.
For a disabled adult to become entitled to this “child” benefit, one of his or her parents:

  • Must be receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits; or
  • Must have died and have worked long enough under Social Security.
These benefits also are payable to an adult who received dependents benefits on a parent’s Social Security earnings record prior to age 18, if he or she is disabled at age 18. We make the disability decision using the disability rules for adults.

SSDI disabled adult “child” benefits continue as long as the individual remains disabled. Your child does not need to have worked to get these benefits.
      2. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a Federal income supplement program funded by general tax revenues (not Social Security taxes):
blank spacerIt is designed to help aged, blind, and disabled people, who have little or no income; and
blank spacerIt provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.

-- This is referred to as 'the United States biggest Welfare program' by Social Security.


Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, provides benefits to individuals who are disabled or blind. SSDI is funded by employees’ contributions to the Social Security trust fund, or the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) social security tax paid on yearly earnings.
In order to be eligible for SSDI, your loved one must have:
  • Paid some of these taxes in recent years
  • Worked and paid social security taxes long enough to be covered under social security insurance.

To sum it up for you SSI is out of general taxes, is for low income people only (with disabilities) and is considered welfare.

SSDI is based off taxes you paid into the system while working, and you are only eligible for SSDI disability payments after paying into the system long enough. Your SSDI payment will be based upon what you put into the program via taxes.

SSDI/DAC is an SSDI benefit that a disabled child (or adult) may claim, based upon what the parent put into the SSDI program from their earned wages (taxes)

Now for the fun stuff.

I receive SSDI from my work history AND DAC. Social security works like this:
If you get approved for benefits and meet each programs criteria, you must be individually approved for each program. So if you apply to all three and meet the criteria of all three, you will get three approval letters--one from each program.

Now you MAY collect multiple checks from a combination of these three sources. BUT, you do not get 'full benefits' from either.

For example, you are approved for 400$ a month from SSDI based upon your work history, and also approved for DAC payments based upon your fathers, with a benefit of 900$. You would receive 900$ total from social security, as that is the MAXIMUM you are entitled to. You would receive 400$ from SSDI and the remainder from DAC. You cannot collect more than the highest benefit total you are entitled to.

The reason they do this is each pool of money is different. SSI funding is from general taxes, SSDI is based of your work taxes and DAC off your parents work taxes.

Anyhoo, I get the DAC and SSDI. (I will explain why I do not get SSI at the end) Both entitle me to MediCARE, and the DAC entitles me to Medicaid as well (as a supplement of sorts) despite the income boost. (if it was just SSDI I would have to qualify with medicaid under the medicaid rules, pregnant under 21, or income guidelines)

I was researching about SSDI, DAC and its rules (I have had it since October, I am learning still) and came across a query of 'What happens if I get married on SSDI?'- The answer? Nothing will change. (From social security)

So I decided to look, what happens if you get married on SSI? Since SSI is a needs based program they could cut or remove all of your benefits, if your partner made over a certain amount of money each year, kind of like food stamps, since the program is considered welfare.

So last but not least I googled the DAC benefit. I was floored.
Direct from Social Securitys own website (HERE)  I found this:
If he or she receives benefits as an adult disabled since childhood, the benefits generally end if he or she gets married. However, some marriages (for example, to another adult disabled child) are considered protected.

Something here is not right. So I did some more digging. Yep, its true. Unless I marry another adult disabled child ACTIVELY RECEIVING THE SAME BENEFIT, I will lose mine!
That means no medical, no payment, NOTHING.
Upon contacting someone I know who used to work for Disability Determination within SSA, I was told I would lose my SSDI benefit based on my work record too! (I do not know if this is true, I must find a way to link a confirmation or denial of this)

I am FLOORED. I cannot, despite days of searching, find a justifiable reason as to why this one category gets singled out.
So suddenly I am not disabled because I decided to get married,and instead of rewarding me like the government does with marriage (taxes, health insurance benefits, death benefits, legal rights and so on) I get dropped?!

I have some issues with this, which I am sure will raise hell in others eyes. I am sure I will hear you are bitching about free money from the government blah blah blah... save it. Read it all and then complain if you need to.

One, I can cohabitate with someone for the rest of my life, even be engaged and cohabitate indefinitely  and keep my benefits but the second I get married out the window that goes?
Why does every other category of disability get to marry, without penalty? 

Half the reason I am disabled is because I cannot work. I am medically needy and could not find health insurance, even through a spouse most likely, that would accept me with all of my 'pre existing conditions'
Even if I did find a company willing to take me, the premiums would be astronomical, in addition to copays, prescription benefits, deductibles and out of pocket reimbursement expenses, that would bankrupt anyone in a matter of weeks.

Without this medical care I would die.

So my spouse would be forced to take on the financial burden of my inability to contribute to household coffers, astronomical medical costs and the physical responsibility that comes with my medical issues.

I wouldn't marry myself with that kind of baggage!

So, I would like to ask social security and law makers, why do you stop Disabled Adult Children from getting married and being able to live?

If you are interested in perhaps bringing attention to this click HERE.


  1. Thank you for sharing this information. I've been advised too for SSDI for my fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, but have seen and heard a lot of horror stories regarding the process. Improvements regarding qualifications and some rules are definitely needed. Is it okay to ask how your process went? Did you get a lawyer to help with your claim?


    1. My claim is long and kind of complicated.
      My caseworker when I was 15 first applied for benefits under SSI program for me. (I was a foster child, this was a foster case worker)
      I was approved without hesitation and no one questioned it (including me, I wanted nothing to do with it)

      I was NOT reviewed at 18, or 22. However in 2010, my adoptive mother filed for retirement benefits, which triggered an automatic review of my disability, and automatic applications (which social security filed for me) for SSI, SSDI AND DAC.

      Long story short, I was denied. Twice. Once in Pennsylvania and once in Tennessee.

      In Tennessee they based my disability off ONE emergency room report for a UTI. I was homeless and they knew it, but were sending mail to an address I didn't live at (and they knew this) and because I never got this paperwork.. they made a decision based on what they did have.

      I contacted many attorneys, none of whom wanted a thing to do with me, as 'its not profitable for us'.
      Despite my best trying to explain that there was substantial potential backpay involved.. no one would help.
      I found a 'disability advocate' through google and ended up retaining her.
      She filed the appeal for me, and within 3 weeks I was approved, for all three. With NO new information submitted.

      It was a nightmare, and it took many months to get my back pay (which was almost nothing really) and well, was worth every penny.
      By law attorneys cannot take more than 25% of your back pay (which can be substantial) but honestly I feel its worth it.

      My brother is now finally realizing his perpetual issues are real and disabling, and I am assisting him with filing for SSDI.
      In the event he is denied, we will hire an attorney.

      You have a low chance of being approved first shot without an attorney, but the moment you are denied, I highly recommend consulting one.

      Good luck on your disability claim!

  2. Wow I thought I was the only one in the same boat. I'm a 23 year old man that receives DAC as well, was adopted, and was also homeless for like a year, but I also work part time on a Navy Base. Thanks for sharing

    1. You most certainly are not alone. I need to update this soon.

  3. I am on DAC and blind since birth, I am disgusted that the government has limited my life experiences and only allows me to "shack up unmarried" in their eyes if I want to cohabitate. I deserve the right to marry and contribute to a marriage even if with government funds I am eligable for and not be a drain on my spouse. This makes me so sad. I am only seen now as baggage that no one will ever want to marry the way things are in these days. I don't deserve my life to be limited in this way.