When we think of divorce, most of us think of something gone wrong. Maybe the spouses have grown apart, or someone cheated. Rarely, however, do Texas residents think of divorce as being an economic necessity. That, though, is exactly what one couple is considering in order to make ends meet.

The couple has been married for 21 years and have no desire to separate but see no other alternative to get them out of their dire financial situation. In their unique set of circumstances, a divorce may allow the possibility of receiving higher government benefits and could get them back on their feet.

After the wife began a new job, her husband saw a drastic cut in his disability benefits. The cut has been so severe that the couple is unable to meet some of their most basic needs. The man, injured in 2000, has been unable to work for a long period of time. He was unable to receive Social Security disability (SSDI) due to a low income over the last 10 years, but he did qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which allows payments for disabled persons to assist with basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter.

His benefits were slashed after his wife began working. Over $900 a month in benefits were lost as a result of the new employment, $700 of which came from the SSI program and the others from medical and food stamps. An official explained that the new income and the couple’s assets are taken into account when trying to qualify for Social Security benefits, and the decrease is due to the spouses’ new income.

Although the couple does not wish to divorce, they feel like it may be their only option to survive. If they legally divorce, the husband may be able to reclaim his lost benefits, allowing them more financial freedom.

While this couple’s situation is certainly unique, it highlights the fact that the decision to divorce can arise from a diverse array of situations.

Source: Journal Standard, “Divorcing to survive: Couple struggles in tough economy,” Nick Crow, April 21, 2012