Most strategies on Social Security planning focus on maximizing a couple’s total lifetime benefits based on coordinating spousal benefits. However, while spousal benefits are crucial to SS retirement planning, don’t be surprised if clients, or even colleagues, are not familiar with them.

When the SS insurance system was implemented in the late 1930s its authors recognized the need to provide insurance both to workers as well as non-working or low-paid spouses (typically the woman at that time). This ensured that the non-working spouse would have some benefits regardless of whether they were still married to the worker, divorced or even a survivor should the worker die before them.

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