Couple splits up to stay insured

“In September of last year, I made what looking back on it in retrospect was the worst decision I ever made in my entire life,” he said. “I decided to take early retirement from Social Security.”

Even though his monthly benefit was significantly less than the paycheck he had been bringing home, the decision changed the eligibility requirements for Linda Drain to continue receiving Supplemental Security Income. If she kept living with her husband, she would lose SSI eligibility, which would make her no longer qualify for TennCare, the state’s Medicaid program.

Linda Drain has epilepsy. She has suffered so many seizures she has damaged the nerves in her back. She has spinal stenosis, a condition aggravated by the titanium in her back. Despite having undergone brain surgery to alleviate the seizures, she still has to take expensive medications to prevent them.