America’s recession has shown us again that there isn’t a lot most people won’t do to make ends meet or provide for their families. Weekly, it seems, we read or hear about people who work two or three jobs just to keep themselves afloat or about family members that almost never see each other because they have to work too much.
Unfortunately, married Oregon residents who receive Supplemental Security Income benefits may have to consider an even more unusual and difficult choice when it comes to taking care of their families: A) stay married and lose SSI benefits, or B) get a divorce.
One man we recently read about became disabled about 12 years ago after breaking his back in three places. Because he did not have enough work credits to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits at that time, he could only get approved for SSI benefits — a separate disability program based on need (rather than work history), intended to help disabled people who are ineligible for SSDI benefits to pay for basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter.
Recently, the man’s wife was able to find a job after a long period of unemployment. Good news, right? It was until the Social Security Administration told the man that his SSI benefits were going to be reduced by $700 a month as a result. Now, they are not so sure the new job was good news at all and have even considered getting a divorce. They have also filed an administrative appeal of the SSA’s decision.
Source: The Journal-Standard, “Divorcing to survive: Couple struggles in tough economy,” April 21, 2012