Saturday, October 24, 2015
Social Security doesn't treat working women fairly compared to stay-at-home spouses
Max Ehrenfreund has a good summary on p. A12 of the Washington Post of the way Social Security seems to “penalize” working women, p A12 Saturday, October 24, 2015, link here.
Social Security was, after all, implemented in the 1930s, when most families had one earner, the husband supporting the wife and children. World War II would change that long before Betty Friedan, feminism and gay liberation came along. But the math of survivors’ benefits works in such a way that non-working surviving spouses of long-standing one-earner (and high earner) marriages do very well. Women who worked but erratically (maybe because of motherhood, maybe because of poverty) are much less well served.
Of course, same-sex couples will enter the mix, but this means little so far.
But the idea of social security as an “annuity” that you paid for with FICA is somewhat weakened indeed when you see this argument.
Keep in mind one other idea in reading the simulations in the article here -- they assume taking benefits at full retirement. Many employers pressured retirees into taking Social Security early with "Social Security offsets" and "Social Security bridges".
Keep your eyes on the debt limit situation, folks.