SSA grew out of Widow's and Orphan's benefits programs. The idea of paying someone on the basis of who they are married to is a luxury we cannot afford. Should a wage earner die, it is understandable to help widows and orphans. But to pay households more on the basis of if two adults are married or not (as defined by the state where they reside) is not in our nation's interest.
In certain States a majority of monthly benefits can be sent to a spouse if the beneficiary institutionalized. The care and upkeep for the beneficiary are borne by State or Federal programs. The money sent to the spouse is in addition to benefits they themselves recieve.
Currently we are paying benefits in cases where a self employeed individual assigned some or all of his or her annual wages to a spouse. This gets the spouse into insured status and eligible for retirement or disability benefits. Because of the thousands of dollars this can cause a household to gain or lose, the honor system is not a good gate keeper.
The notion that a spouse should qualify for a benefit based on a living NH's record is antiquated. You only need 40 quarters to qualify for your own retirement benefit. That is 10 years of work out of a total working lifetime of 35-45 years.
Widow's... more »