Young Widow(Er)S, Social Security, and Marriage

Center for Retirement Research Working Paper No. 2003-02

31 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2003

See all articles by Michael J. Brien

Michael J. Brien

Deloitte & Touche, LLP

Stacy Dickert-Conlin

Syracuse University - Center for Policy Research

David A. Weaver

Social Security Administration

Date Written: February 2003

Abstract

The Social Security program, like the federal income tax system, is not marriage neutral. In the income tax literature, when a couple faces a higher (lower) tax bill as a married couple than as two single individuals, it is said that the couple, in effect, faces a marriage penalty (marriage subsidy). Similarly, provisions in Social Security lead to marriage subsidies or penalties. In this paper, we examine marriage penalties associated with Social Security's child-in-care benefits. These benefits are paid to widow(er)s who are caring for minor or disabled children. Benefits to the widow(er) terminate upon remarriage, giving rise to marriage penalties. We document the size of these penalties, discuss their likely effects on marriage decisions, and measure the cost of repealing the termination provision.

Suggested Citation

Brien, Michael J. and Dickert-Conlin, Stacy and Weaver, David A., Young Widow(Er)S, Social Security, and Marriage (February 2003). Center for Retirement Research Working Paper No. 2003-02. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=388383 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.388383

Michael J. Brien

Deloitte & Touche, LLP

Paramount Plaza
Midtown Manhattan
New York, NY AB
United States

Stacy Dickert-Conlin (Contact Author)

Syracuse University - Center for Policy Research ( email )

Syracuse, NY 13244
United States
315-443-3232 (Phone)
315-443-1081 (Fax)

David A. Weaver

Social Security Administration

500 E Street, SW
ITC Building, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20254
United States

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