January 14, 2021
The Honorable Senator Anna Caballero
State Capitol, Room 5052
Sacramento, CA 95814
SUBJECT: SJR 8 (Caballero): (Social Security Disability Insurance: Disabled Adult Child Benefit) – SUPPORT
Dear Senator Caballero:
Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF), based in Berkeley, Calif., is a nonprofit legal and policy center dedicated to protecting and promoting the civil rights of people with disabilities. DREDF writes in support of SJR 8, a resolution that calls on the federal government to remove barriers to marriage for people with disabilities who receive Adult Child Disabled (DAC) benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act.
Beneficiaries of the DAC are adults who became disabled before the age of 22 and who, because of this disability, cannot engage in substantial gainful employment. The benefits of DAC are an essential lifeline. In addition to modest benefits, DAC recipients are eligible for Medicare and often Medicaid. Medicaid covers personal attendant care and other disability-related services that are not available through private insurance. Access to health care is important for everyone, but it can be a matter of life and death for people with significant disabilities.
Under current law, people who receive CAD lose their benefits if they marry. There are narrow statutory exceptions, such as marriage to another DAC recipient, marriage to someone receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, or marriage to someone receiving retirement benefits from the social Security. This rule prevents marriages between many people, especially young couples and disabled people with non-disabled partners, who wish to build their lives together.
All people, regardless of disability or need for medical care, should have the freedom to marry. For this reason, DREDF supports SJR 8 and urges its passage.
A. Elaine Lewis