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NCAPPS Webinar: Love and Disability Exploring Person-Centered Supports and the Marriage Penalty

December 13, 2022

Thursday, December 15, 2022 | 3 PM ET
Register for the webinar.

Marrying someone you love is one of the most basic human rights. However, for people with disabilities, marriage can mean the loss of potentially life-sustaining benefits due to the “marriage penalty,” which often reduces Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid benefits when people marry and jointly report income. As a result, many people with disabilities remain unmarried — against their personal wishes — out of fear of losing their benefits.

In this National Center on Advancing Person-Centered Practices and Systems (NCAPPS) webinar, couples with disabilities and disability advocates will share their experiences and discuss how to support and advocate for people with disabilities who want to get married.  


  • Lydia X.Z. Brown is the director of policy, advocacy, and external affairs at the Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network; founding executive director of the Autistic People of Color Fund; co-president of the Disability Rights Bar Association; and the Disability Justice Committee representative on the National Lawyers Guild board.
  • Shain Neumeier is a trial attorney in the Commitment Defense Unit of the Committee for Public Counsel Services’ Mental Health Litigation Division. 
  • Al Lewis and Renita Bundrage are elementary school sweethearts who have not married due to the marriage penalty for people with disabilities. Al has been a board member of People First of Georgia since 2016, and Renita was one of several founders of Long Road Home.
  • Kile and Stephanie Pelletier are a married, disabled couple. Once they were married, Stephanie’s benefits went down to just over eight dollars. Advocating for changes that would allow other couples with disabilities to marry without sacrificing their quality of life has become a priority in their lives.

NCAPPS webinars include ASL interpretation, live English captions, and live Spanish interpretation. If you require additional accommodations, please contact Saska Rajcevic at All NCAPPS webinars are recorded and archived and can be viewed on NCAPPS’s Webinars page.

NCAPPS is an initiative from the Administration for Community Living and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that helps states, tribes, and territories implement person-centered thinking, planning, and practice.

Last modified on 04/12/2024

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