Average monthly payments to male retired workers are substantially higher than those to female retired workers, spouses of male retired workers, or widows.Table 1 indicates the relative importance of primary and secondary benefits to men and women.
Primary benefits, based on one's own work, become available upon retirement (as measured by advanced age and, for a slightly younger group, age and low earnings), or earlier in the event of total disability.
Among adult dependents, spouses are by far the most numerous.
The Social Security Act currently provides secondary benefits to the wives or widows of covered workers who retire, become disabled, or die.
Spouse Benefits for Men and Constitutional Equality IV. Should All Who Are Legal Married at Benefit Time Receive Spouse Benefits? Should Others--De Facto Spouses and Former Legal Spouses--Receive Spouse Benefits? Should More Than One Spouse Receive Benefits on a Single Worker's Account? The Remarriage Dilemma 824 Conclusion A few basic facts about the OASDI structure demonstrate why true Social Security benefit equality between men and women is so difficult to achieve and how spouse benefits relate to that problem.
The Failure of Retired-Worker Benefits to Displace Spouse Benefits III.