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Yes, a Nonworking Spouse Can Collect Social Security
Townhall.com ^ | May 12, 2010 | Carrie Schwab Pomerantz

Posted on 05/12/2010 12:42:03 PM PDT by Kaslin

Dear Carrie: While I am still employed, can my nonworking wife retire and receive Social Security benefits? -- A Reader

Dear Reader: There's a lot of confusion about whether or not a nonworking spouse is entitled to Social Security benefits, so I'm glad you asked this question. The short answer is that a nonworking spouse who has reached age 62 can collect Social Security based on the working spouses earning's record, once the working spouse has filed for benefits.

You say that you're still employed, so I'm going to assume that you're not collecting Social Security yet. I'm also going to assume, for the sake of simplicity, that your wife doesn't qualify for her own benefits. (If she did, she could file in her own name regardless of your filing status once she turned 62.) If my assumptions are accurate, while your wife may be eligible for Social Security benefits, she can't collect until you file for benefits yourself.

This sounds clear enough, but as with so much that has to do with the government and money, there are a number of rules and exceptions to complicate things a bit.

WHAT AND WHEN A NONWORKING SPOUSE CAN COLLECT

The Social Security benefit of a nonworking spouse is 50 percent of the full benefit of the working spouse. So if your full benefit is $2,000, your wife would be able to collect $1,000. However, the age limits that apply to worker benefits also apply to spousal benefits. There are two choices. Your wife can:

-- Take Social Security at age 62. But the 50 percent spousal benefit would be further reduced by about 25 percent for the rest of her life.

-- Wait until what the IRS designates as her "full retirement age" (between 65 and 67, depending on when she was born) to receive the full spousal benefit. In this case, she will receive 50 percent of your full benefit.

Just for the record, there is an exception to the age requirement if your spouse is caring for your child who is under age 16.

WHY TIMING IS IMPORTANT

Both you and your wife should give a lot of thought to when to begin collecting Social Security. For instance, if you applied early at age 62, your benefit would be permanently reduced. If your wife also elected to take Social Security early, her 50 percent benefit would be permanently reduced. That could make a big hole in your monthly income.

While it might seem smart to begin taking benefits as soon as possible -- after all, you'll then collect checks for a longer period of time -- it's a good idea to look at your "break-even age" before making a final decision. This is how long you need to live to make sure choosing a later date will give you greater lifetime benefits. You can find a break-even calculator at IRS.gov. It's definitely worth a look. Chances are, the longer you can each wait, the better.

ANOTHER STRATEGY

You don't say how old you are, but if you've reached your full retirement age, you could file for benefits, even though you're still working, and your wife could then file for the spousal benefit. At full retirement age, there's no limit on the amount you can earn and still collect full benefits. However, if you prefer to delay taking your own benefits, there's another strategy to consider. The IRS lets you file for Social Security and then immediately suspend your benefits. This would allow your wife to begin collecting a spousal benefit based on your earnings while you continue to work. At the same time, your own future benefit would continue to grow. Another plus to this strategy is that the larger your eventual benefit, the larger your wife's survivor benefit. That's because, should you die first, your wife would collect 100 percent of your Social Security.

As you can see, there are a number of things to consider. I'd suggest you talk to your financial or tax adviser about the best strategy for both you and your wife. A little planning can help maximize the total benefit for your household. And why not? After all, you've earned it!


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial
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To: ladyvet
but lots of blood,sweat and tears to raise them to be responsible adults

You, me and every other parent! No points there.

not "getting something for nothing.

Your payoff is 'your responsible adults'. That's not enough?
51 posted on 05/12/2010 2:30:04 PM PDT by presently no screen name ( Repeal ZeroCare!)
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To: In Maryland
Which part of this clause did you not understand?

What part of my response didn't you understand? What you are referencing was not part of my post but a post that I was replying to. IOW, they aren't my words.

I'm only referring to what the article states - not what others are posting.
52 posted on 05/12/2010 2:34:12 PM PDT by presently no screen name ( Repeal ZeroCare!)
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To: presently no screen name

“Don’t imply those working outside the home don’t do more work in LESS TIME than those who don’t work outside the home! Been on both sides of the fence, I can’t be conned, I know the deal.”
*********************************************************
I don’t think a blanket statement works here. Probably more likely that SOME working outside the home do more work in less time than SOME who don’t, and SOME staying at home do more work in less time than SOME who work outide the home. Consider that there are all sorts of situations.Many of the stay at home moms are organizing, volunteering in the classroom, being the support or go-to person in the neighborhood and many other sorts of things which are definitely work and not play. Others do the minimum. Same with working moms. Some have demanding jobs and are tied to a desk, others have more flexible situations, others don’t have to work very much at their work and just want to work in order to get away from the work of child-rearing and be around grown-ups to have a social life. There are countless situations which make it sketchy to make a blanket statement that women who work outside the home do more work in less time.


53 posted on 05/12/2010 2:35:56 PM PDT by Anima Mundi
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To: cricket

No, I don’t think so. That could imply the spouse had worked previously and now unemployed or non-employed, as you say. The spouse in this situation never gave into the system, so she was never employed.


54 posted on 05/12/2010 2:36:41 PM PDT by presently no screen name ( Repeal ZeroCare!)
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To: Anima Mundi

Of course, let’s not get ridiculous here. That’s not the point of the article what people do with their time. People work outside the home and volunteer and take care of the neighbors kids along with their own - so let’s not beat a dead drum.


55 posted on 05/12/2010 2:39:44 PM PDT by presently no screen name ( Repeal ZeroCare!)
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To: TNdandelion

I think someone got burned by a lazy stay at home ex-wife.


56 posted on 05/12/2010 2:47:19 PM PDT by ladyvet (WOLVERINES!!!!!)
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To: presently no screen name

My son had a stroke at nine days old. He will NEVER “grow up,” and I’ve been “not working” ever since.

He’s currently 12, and we try to give him as much knowledge as he can get before he reaches the plateau of his abilities. He is homeschooled, and we’ve attempted to fill his schedule with interesting and educational things, but it takes a lot of running around to do that.

In all probability, he will never learn to drive a car. He will never be able to support himself. He will always live with us, until we die, and we will take care of him as long as we can. Then...his brother or other family will have to take over.

Add to that the currently stable bum ticker that caused the damned stroke in the first place, and you can’t begin to imagine the worry and work it takes to even keep going day after day.

I held some kind of job from the age of 12-31, when I had my first baby. Even then, when the kids went to (Catholic)school, I took a job at the school just to keep an eye on him. Now that he’s not at school anymore, I stay home with him and teach him what I can while still keeping house. I can tell you that THIS is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, hands down.

Oh, how I wish my Johnny would “grow up” one day....but he won’t.

Regards,


57 posted on 05/12/2010 2:48:55 PM PDT by VermiciousKnid (Sic narro nos totus!)
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To: Kaslin
For instance, if you applied early at age 62, your benefit would be permanently reduced.

Just one of the 1/2 or 3/4 truths in this article. For anybody interested, look up the annual retirement test and adjustment of the reduction factor. 31 years was enough for me to be sick of explaining them. By the way, given the condition of the SSA "trust fund", it's optimistic to believe that benefit formulas will be static forever, therefore who the hell knows what a "break even point" will be.

58 posted on 05/12/2010 2:50:27 PM PDT by Stentor
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To: presently no screen name
Yes, both worker and spouse can collect on the worker's contributions. No can the kids (if under 16).

There - is that simple enough for you to understand?

59 posted on 05/12/2010 2:52:11 PM PDT by In Maryland ("Impromptu Obamanomics is getting scarier by the day ..." - Caroline Baum)
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To: In Maryland

No = so.


60 posted on 05/12/2010 2:54:13 PM PDT by In Maryland ("Impromptu Obamanomics is getting scarier by the day ..." - Caroline Baum)
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To: presently no screen name; TNdandelion

And don’t forget the bon-bons.


61 posted on 05/12/2010 2:56:44 PM PDT by firebrand
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To: ladyvet

yep


62 posted on 05/12/2010 3:02:25 PM PDT by timeflies
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To: Buckeye McFrog
it works out to poverty level no matter how you analyze it

It wasn't designed to be an only source of income that would fully support someone in their old age.

63 posted on 05/12/2010 3:25:31 PM PDT by Graybeard58 (No Romney,No Mark Kirk (Illinois), not now, not ever!)
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To: Kaslin

No problem, as soon as polygamy becomes the law of the land I’m gonna marry all my grandkids before I check out and let them collect “government money” in perpetuity.


64 posted on 05/12/2010 3:32:28 PM PDT by jwalsh07
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To: Kaslin

If I collected welfare my whole life, when is the soonest I can start collecting my social security money?


65 posted on 05/12/2010 3:35:52 PM PDT by RustyT
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To: VermiciousKnid
how I wish my Johnny would “grow up” one day

I'm sorry. Yours is an exception, not the rule. A family friend has an autistic son - he's 24. He doesn't speak, totally dependent on her, a single mom. He goes to a gov't run center so he can intermingle with others and is entitled to a health care worker to come in a few hours during the week. But she is still on call 24/7 - no matter what.

he reaches the plateau of his abilities

Is that the age of 25? My doctor has a son who was born with a hole in his heart. Lots of problems, can't speak because of things down his throat for many years. IIRC, he said something about they have till the age of 25. He's 15 and totally dependent on his parents. Their 'outings' are very limited. It affects the whole family.

I believe in never saying never. I, also, believe in miracles.

66 posted on 05/12/2010 3:40:25 PM PDT by presently no screen name ( Repeal ZeroCare!)
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To: firebrand

Everyone eats bon-bons. Just don’t tell Michelle or she might take off her big belt and put it to use.


67 posted on 05/12/2010 3:42:42 PM PDT by presently no screen name ( Repeal ZeroCare!)
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To: jwalsh07

Good thinking! That could be their inheritance.


68 posted on 05/12/2010 3:44:28 PM PDT by presently no screen name ( Repeal ZeroCare!)
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To: In Maryland
There - is that simple enough for you to understand?

Show me where I said I didn't understand it? It should be SIMPLE for you to find where I did - for you see what's not there.
69 posted on 05/12/2010 3:47:25 PM PDT by presently no screen name ( Repeal ZeroCare!)
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To: Kaslin
So, based upon the headline a broken spouse gets benefits??
70 posted on 05/12/2010 3:52:06 PM PDT by mad_as_he$$ (If you can read this you are the resistance. (Oh and the GOP can bite me for $$$))
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To: presently no screen name

Oh, no. I know the coffers are empty. Wasnt it this year they stopped taking in enough to cover the current expenditures?

However, make note and watch the feigned surprise when they have to raise the retirement age, or taxes, or both to cover the ongoing costs.

They will all break their fingers pointing everywhere except at themselves.

If they were really honest, they would point their fingers at us, and say, “Why didn’t you stop me?”


71 posted on 05/12/2010 3:52:35 PM PDT by Vermont Lt (This nation, of the people, by the people, and for the people has perished from the land.)
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To: presently no screen name
Well, if I had 6 kids and put them through private school, no doubt I'd have to make some family sacrifices to afford such luxuries. But we didn't make those choices. We have a modest sized family in a very average house and we drive very used cars and manage our money so that we can afford to be a traditional family.

And no, I'm not insinuating that gangs in Chicago have concerned parents. Which is exactly the point. Kids with too much unsupervised freedom will find trouble one way or the other.

I don't baby my kids, but they don't have to worry about me not being available when they need me. And someone like you would probably be surprised how much a kid needs their mom (or dad) to talk about what good or bad thing happened to them while at school.

I'm glad that your neighborhood family has great kids. Can you count more than 1 family in your neighborhood like that? 'Cause I can count a lot more two parent working families in my neighborhood that need more supervision for their kids than just 1. Most of them have preteen/teenagers.

72 posted on 05/12/2010 4:00:50 PM PDT by TNdandelion
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To: ladyvet

Possibly, or he feels inadequate about his ability to provide for his own. ;) Not every family can afford to have a full-time parent at home. But for those that can or aspire to, good luck to them. It’s not something I’ll regret. I’ll finish my degree one day. ;) I’m happy I was able to be there to support my husband and my children. I can always work for someone else...that’s nothing special.


73 posted on 05/12/2010 4:09:08 PM PDT by TNdandelion
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To: Vermont Lt
They will all break their fingers pointing everywhere except at themselves.

Yeah, like they did in '04 when the GOP took the 'rats on about Fannie Mae, etc fiasco. Barney, et al, denied it ad nauseam.
74 posted on 05/12/2010 4:14:31 PM PDT by presently no screen name ( Repeal ZeroCare!)
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To: presently no screen name

Johnny is 12 right now. We’re still seeing what he can learn. He is able to learn, but MUCH more slowly than his peers.

His verbal abilities are well below average, but he is able to speak — the same with his cognitive abilities. The more complex or abstract the idea, the less likely he is to understand it. The one exception to this is his ability to understand his religion — he gets that just fine, including his ability to serve as an altar boy at the Latin Mass we attend. He is also an exceptional speller (far better than his straight-A brother).

I believe in miracles, too, PNSN, but I must admit it gets harder as the years go by...Thank God he seems to be physically healthy at this time. We were lucky to have the finest pediatric heart surgeon in the world perform his heart surgery when he was a baby. Had he been born only a few years earlier, his chances would have been far worse.

Ah, there’s no sense complaining. This is our cross to bear, and we will bear it. Your initial comment about growing up just hit a chord, is all...please forgive my rant.

Regards,


75 posted on 05/12/2010 4:15:35 PM PDT by VermiciousKnid (Sic narro nos totus!)
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To: TNdandelion
probably be surprised how much a kid needs their mom (or dad) to talk about what good or bad thing happened to them while at school.

Do you say these things to make yourself feel better? It's a dumbass comment!
76 posted on 05/12/2010 4:17:22 PM PDT by presently no screen name ( Repeal ZeroCare!)
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To: rightwingintelligentsia
I also understand that an ex-wife can claim a pro-rated portion of the ex-husband’s SS benefits (and vice versa).

I am not sure if that is true or not, I believe it depends on how long you both had been married to each other

77 posted on 05/12/2010 4:23:57 PM PDT by Kaslin (Acronym for OBAMA: One Big Ass Mistake America)
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To: presently no screen name

I’m a professional, full-time parent. Aren’t you the one who questioned just how long a kid needed to be raised? Either you don’t have kids or you shouldn’t have kids if you have to ask that kind of question.


78 posted on 05/12/2010 4:23:57 PM PDT by TNdandelion
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To: TNdandelion

Now look what you’ve done. He’s gone and gotten potty mouth on you!


79 posted on 05/12/2010 4:26:30 PM PDT by ladyvet (WOLVERINES!!!!!)
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To: presently no screen name

You think a wife doesn’t do anything while she stays home> Do you think raising children, nursing them back to health when they are sick, or cleaning the house, doing the cooking, laundry, shopping for groceries, ect is nothing?


80 posted on 05/12/2010 4:30:40 PM PDT by Kaslin (Acronym for OBAMA: One Big Ass Mistake America)
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To: presently no screen name

My wife and I file a joint return. My earnings are her earnings as well.

I work hard so she doesn’t have to have a job outside the home.

She damn well entitled to collect social security (when the time comes) from our joint income and taxes paid.


81 posted on 05/12/2010 4:32:13 PM PDT by DB
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To: VermiciousKnid

He’s an altar boy! WOW! So he is well behaved - he has his emotions in check. Not so with the two friends I mentioned. Totally all over the place - and not because of a lack of discipline but mentally they are unable. They cannot be left alone.

I don’t see it as a rant. You are faced with a difficult situation and when it concerns our children - it takes on another level entirely, IMO.

Someone was exaggerating a situation to suit their argument, that was the reason for that comment.

I’m rooting for Johnny, MrSpellingAce!


82 posted on 05/12/2010 4:35:29 PM PDT by presently no screen name ( Repeal ZeroCare!)
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To: presently no screen name

When it says nonworking wife, it means the wife had no paying job. That does not mean she laid on her couch all day doing nothing but eating Bonbons *rme*


83 posted on 05/12/2010 4:35:30 PM PDT by Kaslin (Acronym for OBAMA: One Big Ass Mistake America)
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To: Kaslin

Show me where you think I need that info? Did I imply that in any way? Or did I give that definition of a nonworking spouse? And was that my focus or not paying into the system? Don’t apply what others have said to me.

Get your facts straight instead of being quick to ‘act superior’ - and end up looking like a fool.


84 posted on 05/12/2010 4:40:44 PM PDT by presently no screen name ( Repeal ZeroCare!)
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To: presently no screen name

Seriously there sport, if mom’s were not staying home taking care of kids someone else would be getting paid to do it. So they are working they are just not getting paid. Now I don’t know what happened to you that makes you so bitter about it but would you rather have the state raise kids in return for the $$ the system will get from it?


85 posted on 05/12/2010 4:47:43 PM PDT by ladyvet (WOLVERINES!!!!!)
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To: DB
The same here. Difference is - there is two paying into the system. It's not a hard concept to follow and understand.

Your taxes have nothing to do with it - what you pay into SS does.

I work hard so she doesn’t have to have a job outside the home.

YOU are not unique. I've yet to hear anyone say they don't work hard. Working hard has nothing to do with only one paying into the system.
86 posted on 05/12/2010 4:48:38 PM PDT by presently no screen name ( Repeal ZeroCare!)
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To: ladyvet
Hey there chump - can't understand why the focus is on anyone staying home and ignore what the article is about.

My focus is on - one paying into the system and getting two payouts.

I don’t know what happened to you that makes you so bitter about it but would you rather have the state raise kids in return for the $$ the system will get from it?

What the crap are you talking about? Nothing happened to me but something happened to you that you can't follow what I am addressing ACCORDING TO THE ARTICLE. I could care less who goes to work, stays home, in jail, on welfare - GOT IT??

You are way too bitter that YOU feel compulsed to twist and insinuate things I'm not addressing - nor the article.
87 posted on 05/12/2010 5:03:35 PM PDT by presently no screen name ( Repeal ZeroCare!)
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To: presently no screen name

Take it easy there sparky, your gonna hurt yourself. Have your wife fix you a cocktail and relax.... unless she’s just laying around the house....then it’s no wonder your so upset.


88 posted on 05/12/2010 5:10:21 PM PDT by ladyvet (WOLVERINES!!!!!)
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To: RustyT

This is hysterical. I’ve always wondered the same thing.
Does welfare count as income? And can they also include those $7,000 Earned Income Tax Credits as income, too?


89 posted on 05/12/2010 5:13:33 PM PDT by mommyq
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To: rightwingintelligentsia
I do recall that my mother collected SS benefits based on my father’s contributions, even though she never worked.

Be careful with your words. Even the title of this article, with "non-working spouse", is risky.

Women have screamed from the mountaintops for years that they have "the hardest job in the world."

I must have missed it this year, but every Mother's Day that ridiculous survey is released that says that women that don't have jobs should be paid something like $175,000/yr, because they are doctors, accountants, day care workers, maids, drivers, executive assistants, ad nauseum.

90 posted on 05/12/2010 5:21:25 PM PDT by IDontLikeToPayTaxes
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To: ladyvet

You see your error so your choice was not to admit it but to act childish with the same old blah, blah, have a drink, etc. Acting like just another chump - a dime a dozen and BORING!

WE work in this house - sorry to disappoint you little one!


91 posted on 05/12/2010 5:44:34 PM PDT by presently no screen name ( Repeal ZeroCare!)
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To: Kaslin

btt


92 posted on 05/12/2010 8:50:27 PM PDT by Ciexyz
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To: presently no screen name

Its a joint tax return.

It is our joint income.


93 posted on 05/12/2010 9:14:35 PM PDT by DB
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To: presently no screen name
The spouse in this situation never gave into the system, so she was never employed.

My wife is not directly employed, but without her support taking care of things on the home front, I could not make six figures where I work, so indirectly, she contributes because I pay more in (double, at least) as a result of her efforts.

94 posted on 05/12/2010 11:10:51 PM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing.)
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To: Smokin' Joe
because I pay more in (double, at least) as a result of her efforts.

I know how it is - been there done that and that isn't unique - many families do the same. BUT that was not my point - I was addressing the article. And that's not what the article is about.

I'll repeat myself - that wasn't my focus. It's not who stays home, does this or that. It's one person pays into the system and there are two payouts. That's the point in the article. Others here, as usual, didn't stick with the topic - they were to into 'their feelings', what they do while home, kids running the streets, my kids need me, they are lonely. So incredible! Kind of explains why some don't work - unable to stick with the topic at hand or unable to understand the topic at hand - it shouldn't be that difficult - but obviously it is for some.

It's not about how one spouse helps the other who is working - that's a given. In a family with two working parents, the same thing goes on - they work together - hectic as it may be.

Bottom line - it doesn't matter to me who makes what choice, kids, no kids, work, no work - that was never MY focus. My point is one pays in and there are two payouts in that family (article). The non working spouse can get up to 1/2 of what the worker gets.

I'll add this. If both spouses are working and one dies before retirement, the other spouse isn't entitled to two payouts, just one - even though they both paid in for all their working years. So one can assume, a nonworking spouse reaps the rewards off of another family of the dead person who paid in for years. Sharing the wealth - not to the family that earned it and paid into it - but an unknown non working person. Like welfare, they pay one for not working. And mind you - $$ is not coming out of the worker in that families benefits, he/she gets the same if the other spouse was working or not. It's the nonworker who gets the freebie off the back of another family who paid into the system and didn't live to received what he paid into nor is his spouse able to receive payments from his/her dead spouses contributions.
95 posted on 05/13/2010 12:02:00 AM PDT by presently no screen name ( Repeal ZeroCare!)
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To: presently no screen name
I was trying to make a point - she wasn’t contributing $$$ into the system.

It could be argued that the wife's duties at home (keeping house, raising children, etc., etc.) freed her husband to work more hours, earn more income, and contribute more into the system.

96 posted on 05/13/2010 12:12:53 AM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: DB
Its a joint tax return. It is our joint income.

Why is it so hard for you to understand? One spouse works and pays into the system on that ONE salary and doesn't make contributions for TWO people or one and a half.

The one working spouse gets his/her full benefits on their contribution - according to ONE salary. The non working spouse gets benefits that family didn't pay into the system for. The worker paid according to ONE salary. The non working spouse gets a freebie. So joint tax return means nothing in this situation.

I honestly have to say - FR has gone down the tubes. There was a time FR had the sharpest people on the block here. I can see why they gave up on it - doubt if they even lurk - there is only so much hair you can pull out.


97 posted on 05/13/2010 12:27:03 AM PDT by presently no screen name ( Repeal ZeroCare!)
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To: presently no screen name

“I honestly have to say - FR has gone down the tubes.”

Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.


98 posted on 05/13/2010 12:28:51 AM PDT by DB
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To: Lancey Howard
keeping house, raising children, etc., etc.) freed her husband to work more hours, earn more income, and contribute more into the system.contribute more into the system.

There's NO contribution into the SS system - let's get real. There's a salary cap on SS. The more income from one worker doesn't fly.

My wifes home - give me more hours. Sure!
99 posted on 05/13/2010 12:41:58 AM PDT by presently no screen name ( Repeal ZeroCare!)
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To: DB

Sorry you feel insulted that you feel the need to be snippy.

But the truth is - FR had many sharp posters when I lurked.
And over time they dwindled away. You were here then, you must remember.

And my response wasn’t directed at you but many posters here - who couldn’t stay on topic. Your response was more on topic than the lot.


100 posted on 05/13/2010 12:56:26 AM PDT by presently no screen name ( Repeal ZeroCare!)
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