Social Security


Q: Why do spouses get a Social Security check along with their husbands when the spouses never worked a day to pay into it?

A: Because that’s the law and has been since it was passed in 1935. While it was assumed that a single retiree or disabled worker could survive on a Social Security benefit, a family could not. Therefore, benefits were extended to the spouses and children of retired or disabled workers.


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

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