Last month my boyfriend of nearly three years asked me to make him “the luckiest guy” and marry him. This was a dream come true. Without hesitation I said “yes!” After Nick slid his late grandmother’s Emerald ring on my finger (which fit perfectly) I called my parents. For the first time in my life neither of them answered their phones! When they called back I told them the exciting news. They didn’t jump for joy right off the bat and I knew why. I explained to them Nick and I plan on having a long engagement because we know when we get married I’ll lose my Social Security Income. After my parents heard this and realized we put a lot of thought into the engagement they were very happy for us.
It’s heartbreaking knowing if we got married now I’d lose my SSI and could lose the programs that pay for my assistants. Nick and I are doing okay financially but if one of us loses our income we’d be screwed. We could have a ceremony and not file for a marriage license. That has pros and cons too. I’m a writer/producer/actress/comedian and like most people in the entertainment industry I’m waiting for my big break. I don’t want to be on SSI the rest of my life. I want to work.
Unfortunately because of my Cerebral palsy my job options are limited. Being an out-of-work actress waiting tables isn’t going to work for me. When people who have different abilities get married they aren’t magically cured. And it’s not Nick’s job to stay home taking care of me. It really hurts knowing that by getting married it could screw things up for us. This should be the happiest time of my life but thinking about the backwards mentality of the government is frustrating. The notion that any family can survive on a single income (unless you’re a millionaire) isn’t a reality anymore. Prior to our engagement Nick and I talked a lot about what we want for our future, what marriage means, and much more. We’ve seen each other at our best and worst. We know what we’re getting into. After all that I still love Nick and want to be with him. I wish the government could see it that way. For the mean time we’ll keep living in sin.