Katko bill would protect SSI benefits for people with disabilities who marry

U.S. Rep. John Katko unveiled a proposal this week he says will eliminate barriers to marriage for people with disabilities.

Katko, R-Camillus, sponsored a bill that would protect Supplemental Security Income benefits for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. When two people who rely on SSI marry, their benefits could be at risk because they must jointly report incomes.

SSI is provided to people with disabilities who lack income. The assistance helps cover basic expenses, such as clothing, food and housing.

An issue paper published by the Social Security Administration in 2003 details how SSI benefits are affected by marriage. If two people who receive SSI benefits marry, they would receive 25 percent less than they would if they lived together but didn't marry.

"People with intellectual and developmental disabilities should not have to choose between marriage and their disability benefits," Katko said.

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