The Impact of Changes in Couples’ Earnings on Married Women’s Social Security Benefits
Barbara A. Butrica
Karen E. Smith
February 1, 2012
Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72, No. 1, pp. 1-9, 2012
Women’s labor force participation and earnings dramatically increased after World War II. Those changes have important implications for women’s Social Security benefits. This article uses the Social Security Administration’s Modeling Income in the Near Term (version 6) to examine Social Security benefits for current and future beneficiary wives. The projections show that fewer wives in more recent birth cohorts will be eligible for auxiliary benefits as spouses because their earnings are too high. If their husbands die, however, most wives will still be eligible for survivor benefits because, despite the increase in their earnings over time, they still typically have lower earnings than their husbands. Even so, the share of wives who would be ineligible for widow benefits is projected to double between cohorts.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 9
Keywords: Aged couples, Social Security, pensions, economic well-being
JEL Classification: D31, H55, I3, J14, J26, J32Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: February 5, 2012
© 2013 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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