Francine Lipman (Chapman) and James Williamson (San Diego State, College of Business Administration) have posted to SSRN their article, Social Security Spouse and Survivor Benefits 101: Practical Primer Part II (Or Another Reason to Put a Ring on It. Here is the abstract:
As the country and courts continue to debate the importance of marriage in a variety of contexts, when determining Social Security benefits it is clear that marriage matters. Marriage matters for Social Security benefits planning because of meaningful spouse and survivor benefits. Given the broad and deep devastation of a record recession on retirement and saving accounts, including the continuing demise of defined benefit plans with joint and survivor benefits protection, Social Security benefits, generally, and spouse and survivor benefits, specifically, have become and will continue to be a more significant percentage of retirees’ income. As a result of the interplay between recently phased in changes under 1983 legislation and amendments under the Senior Citizens’ Freedom to Work Act of 2000, it is critical that Social Security benefits timing analysis becomes a more important part of many retirement plans. In this article, we describe how to use these changes to devise strategies to maximize Social Security spouse and survivor benefits.
This is an accessible, useful article that enhances basic financial literacy, even for the reader who already knows a bit about Social Security.