The Marriage Penalty

The Marriage Penalty

by Bob Branco

When two people get married, where at least one of them receives supplemental security income, the Government tends to cut that subsidy. On the other hand, if this same couple decides to cohabitate, they keep their total income intact. Does the Government really believe that these couples’ household expenses decrease once they get married? Obviously, that’s not true. Whether they are married or not, they still have to pay for rent, utilities, medicines, household products, groceries, and other essentials.

This marriage penalty causes many couples to be extremely intimidated. They are afraid to get married because they don’t think the marriage will survive financially. I heard about one married couple who got a divorce because of financial reasons. Is this how it should be in America? I say, no. If someone sincerely wants to get married for all the right reasons, he should—no questions asked. He shouldn’t be afraid of any financial barriers.

There are some people who believe that the Government penalizes married couples with disabilities in order to remind them that they should go to work in order to support the marriage. While I agree that couples should take responsibility for their own lives, some have special circumstances which prevent them from doing that. As much as we all want to work, it’s not always that easy to accomplish.

If we want to bring religion into this discussion, I can always make the claim that the Government is endorsing cohabitation which is against some religions. Yet they tell us that we must separate Church from State.

For the past three years, I have been working with the legislation, hoping that they would change existing laws which allowed the marriage penalty to happen. There have been little or no results from my efforts. However, I will continue to fight for changes, because I am tired of watching couples who love each other decide to remain single because of federal cuts. I hope someday, someone in politics will pay attention.

About the Author

Bob Branco resides in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and is a self-published author of four books. He is a community organizer, tutors persons with visual impairments, and has written columns for local and international organizations. Bob’s website is

One thought on “The Marriage Penalty

  1. Catch-22! Marriage penalty is not only in America, it is the same in Euroup. In the UK many happily married couples before receiving their pension actually divorce so to have their rights intact. If not they will receive a pension one entity and is a much lower monthly payment. Furthermore, if the man passes first the woman will not get any of her husbands suppiments as if to be seperat identities anyway.

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