Under a bipartisan proposal in Congress, people with developmental disabilities would no longer sacrifice a key government benefit if they choose to get married.

Currently, couples who both receive Supplemental Security Income see their benefits docked by 25% if they wed.

However, a bill introduced this month in the U.S. House of Representatives would eliminate that penalty for SSI beneficiaries with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

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“Individuals with intellectual disabilities shouldn’t be punished for getting married, but sadly that’s exactly what’s happening with their reduction in SSI benefits,” said Rep. David G. Valadao, R-Calif., who introduced the legislation along with Rep. Susie Lee, D-Nev. “I introduced the Eliminating the Marriage Penalty in SSI Act to ensure married adults with intellectual disabilities have the resources they need to meet their basic needs and lead independent lives.”

For 2024, the maximum federal SSI payment for an individual is $943 per month, but married couples who both qualify for the program receive just $1,415.

The legislation would require that a spouse’s income and resources and a person’s marriage status be disregarded when determining SSI eligibility for those with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

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