1/19/2005

Why Social Security Doesn't Add Up, Example #4,986

Reader Babs Kerns of Horsham, PA pointed out something curious about Social Security benefits with regard to divorced spouses.

Last night, my aunt told me about a law that states that someone who was married to someone available for Social Security for at least 10 years is entitled to up to 50% of the value of their SS benefits. Further, it doesn't impact their earnings. And if the divorced wage-earner has died, the surviving divorcee can actually get 100% of the benefit.
Ms. Kerns provided this link to the Social Security website and sure enough - there it is.
A person who is divorced after at least 10 years of marriage may qualify for benefits on the former spouse's Social Security record. To receive benefits as a divorced spouse, the person must be at least age 62 and his/her former spouse must be entitled to retirement or disability benefits.
...
Also, the benefits paid to a divorced spouse will have no effect on the benefit amount paid to other beneficiaries on the record.
Another example of a plan that promises to pay out more than it can possibly take in. When private citizens do this, it's called a Ponzi Scheme. When government does it, it's called Social Security.

But don't worry - Democrats say there's no Social Security crisis.