Changing Social Security Survivorship Benefits and the Poverty of Widows
33 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2000 Last revised: 4 Jul 2021
Date Written: September 1991
The paper considers the effect on widows' poverty of changes in Social Security survivorship benefits, by a reduction in couples' benefits so that total Social Security cost is unchanged. A twenty percent increase in survivorship benefits, for example, would reduce the 1989 poverty rate of widows aged 65 to 69 by about twenty-four percent, from 0.25 to 0.19. The poverty rate of couples would be increased by about thirty-three percent, from about 0.06 to about 0.08.
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