Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

The Impact of Changes in Couples’ Earnings on Married Women’s Social Security Benefits

Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72, No. 1, pp. 1-9, 2012

9 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2012 Last revised: 25 Apr 2015

Barbara A. Butrica

The Urban Institute

Karen E. Smith

Urban Institute

Date Written: February 1, 2012

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Aged couples, Social Security, pensions, economic well-being

JEL Classification: D31, H55, I3, J14, J26, J32

Suggested Citation

Butrica, Barbara A. and Smith, Karen E., The Impact of Changes in Couples’ Earnings on Married Women’s Social Security Benefits (February 1, 2012). Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72, No. 1, pp. 1-9, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1997353

Barbara A. Butrica (Contact Author)

The Urban Institute ( email )

2100 M Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20037
United States

Karen E. Smith

Urban Institute ( email )

2100 M Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037
United States

Paper statistics

Downloads
34
Abstract Views
304