So I’m in an estate planning course, and we got to a cool chapter on spousal rights. Whereas I’m generally horrified to learn about all of the things that gay couples are currently denied, I found something which is universally unfair. Allow me to provide the following information:
The best way to illustrate my point is with an example. So let’s take two married heterosexual couples:
Lucy and Ricky
- Ricky works at a nightclub and earns $80,000.00 a year.
- Lucy raises children, and although providing an admirable service makes nothing.
Ethel and Fred
-Fred works at the nightclub and earns $40,000.00 a year
-Ethel works at the nightclub and earns $40,000.00 a year
Ricky, Ethel, and Fred finally retire at age 66, and starts receiving Social Security benefits.
Unfortunately, Ricky and Fred die in a boating accident.
Under our current system:
Lucy receives Ricky’s full monthly retirement benefits until she dies.
Ethel only gets her own social security benefit, or Fred’s, whichever is larger, but NOT BOTH.
Hence, Ethel’s benefits will be smaller than Lucy’s even though both marital partnerships generated equal incomes and paid equal amounts into the system.
How does this make sense??? It doesn’t. It penalizes couples who work.