social security

Making Social Security gender neutral

by lmallernee | June 12th, 2012

Elderly women receive far fewer Social Security benefits than men, according to Huff Post.

In the late 1930s, Social Security was designed by a committee that used the beliefs of the time about men and women and employment.

Some of those beliefs included the following: married women should be discouraged from employment, and men should be compensated for having dependent wives.

Thanks to the efforts of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the U.S., today Social Security is gender neutral. In the late 1970s, Ginsberg argued a series of Supreme Court decisions which accomplished the following:

(1) Changed the label “wife’s benefit” to “spousal benefit,” which makes men eligible for benefits if they earn less than their wives.

(2) Changed the distribution of benefit checks. Before, the “wife’s benefit” check was in her husband’s name and sent to him. Now they are written in the spouse’s name and sent to that person.

Frequently suggested changes for making the system even more gender neutral include:

(1) Adding a caregiver credit for the number of years a person spends out of the working force caring for children or elderly family members.

(2) Replacing the “spousal benefit” with “earning sharing” for spouses, which would add the two spouses incomes together and credit each half that amount.

If you or someone you know needs help with Social Security benefits, contact the Social Security Disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.