Past NCAPPS Webinars

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

December 15, 2022, from 3:00-4:30 pm ET

Marrying someone you love is one of the most basic human rights that people have. However, for people with disabilities, marriage can mean the loss of potentially life-sustaining benefits due to the disability “marriage penalty” which 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 own personal wishes out of fear of losing their benefits. In this webinar, couples with disabilities will share their experiences of marriage and partnership and how to support and advocate for people with disabilities who want to get married.

Meet the presenters

Lydia X.Z. Brown

Lydia X.Z. Brown is an activist-scholar, attorney, and organizer. They are Director of Policy, Advocacy, & External Affairs at the Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network and founding Executive Director of the Autistic People of Color Fund. Lydia teaches courses in Disability Studies, Women's and Gender Studies, and American Studies at Georgetown University and American University. They are co-president of the Disability Rights Bar Association and Disability Justice Committee representative on the National Lawyers Guild board.

Shain Neumeier

Shain Neumeier is a lawyer, activist, and community organizer, as well as an out and proud member of the disabled, trans, queer, and asexual communities. They are a Trial Attorney in the Commitment Defense Unit of the Committee for Public Counsel Services’ Mental Health Litigation Division. Previously, Shain worked with the Intersex & Genderqueer Recognition Project, Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network, Community Alliance for the Ethical Treatment of Youth, Connecticut Legal Rights Project, and Disability Rights New York, as well as in solo practice.

Al Lewis

Al Lewis and Renita Bundrage are elementary school sweethearts who have not been able to marry due to the marriage penalty for people with disabilities. Together, Al and Renita share their love story in support of marriage equality, and with the hope of ending the marriage penalty so that others do not have to experience the pain they have felt as two people who love each other and should be able to marry. Al has been a board member of People First of Georgia since 2016.

Renita Bundrage

Renita was one of several founders of Long Road Home. She was president of People First of Atlanta for eight years. Renita was also a former President of People First of Georgia for a year after being Vice President for four years.

Kile and Stephanie Pelletier

Kile and Stephanie Pelletier are a married, disabled couple. Once they were married, Stephanie’s benefits went down to eight dollars and some cents. Getting rid of the marriage penalty has become a priority in their lives as they know that other people with disabilities would love to get married and keep all their benefits. However, they often must settle for a relationship ceremony instead of being able to get married and maintain their quality of life. Kile currently works for Speaking Up for Us (SUFU) in Maine where he teaches and supports other self-advocates to create change in their community.

David Goldfarb

David Goldfarb is the Director of Financial Security Policy at the Arc of the United States. Previously, he spent nearly 8 years at the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), where he oversaw NAELA’s advocacy initiatives. He currently co-chairs the Disability and Aging Collaborative and the Consortium for Constituents with Disabilities (CCD) Social Security and Financial Security Task Forces. He was inducted into the National Academy of Social Insurance in 2017.

Ayesha Elaine Lewis

Ayesha Elaine Lewis is a Staff Attorney and member of the Leadership Team at Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF). She is a graduate of New York University School of Law, where she earned her J.D. in 2013 and LLM in Taxation in 2015. Ayesha uses her experience from various aspects of civil rights advocacy to inform her work to advance the civil and human rights of people with disabilities at DREDF. Her work spans a variety of areas, including marriage equality.


NCAPPS is an initiative from the Administration for Community Living and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to help States, Tribes, and Territories to implement person-centered practices. NCAPPS webinars are open to the public, and are geared toward human services administrators, providers, and people who use long-term services and supports. All NCAPPS webinars will be recorded and archived at