Diana Stolfo 0

Support HR 1529 Marriage Access for Persons with Special Abilities Act

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I am here to engage you to support the Marriage Access for People with Special Abilities Act.

I would like to share my story with you as a strong independent woman, self advocate, and public speaker with Down Syndrome. After 25 years of living at home, I am now living independently in my own apartment along with 12 other differently abled adults, including my boyfriend Matthew - in separate apartments of course.

I have known my boyfriend Matthew my whole life. We met when we were babies in the ARC’s Early Intervention Program and we reunited with each other at a social club event. We fell in love at first sight on the dance floor and have been together for 10 years. Matthew means the world to me. He is caring, wonderful, and he makes me feel so special and makes me laugh. He is the only one for me. Our dream is to eventually get married.

However, it is extremely difficult to realize this dream with all the “Red Tape” placed on SSI programs that dictate that two recipients married to each other receive benefit that is 25% less than if they simply lived together not as husband and wife. I feel it’s discrimination against people with special needs.

Everyone with special needs is entitled to a healthy fulfilling life. Our disability does not define us - it’s part of us. We are like everybody else who has needs. Everyone has dreams of what they want in the future: like get engaged, get married or have children. What I propose is to eliminate the barriers and make marriage accessible for all.

What I am saying is please sign this petition supporting the Marriage Access for People with Special Abilities Act. Please continue to create new pathways to ensure the full inclusion for all people with special needs.

I would love to grow old with Matthew. I would love to travel and have the ability to babysit our niece as a married couple, and to show her the beauty of life.

Thank you for your support,

Diana Stolfo

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