Does Social Security Treat Spouses Fairly?

Brief

Does Social Security Treat Spouses Fairly?

Abstract

In 1939, policymakers designed spousal benefitsintended as payment for nonworking wivesbased on the traditional gender roles of a working husband and his dependent spouse. Although this model of the conventional family is quickly being replaced by the two-earner family, spousal benefits have changed very little since their inception. A number of inequities and distortions arise from maintaining benefits based on archaic notions of family structure.

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