Sunday, January 15, 2006

relationships without marriage

Because Social Security benefits in the past could be reduced if an individual remarried in later life many individuals interested in a spousal relationship were confronted with the choice of breaking up, living with their partner without marriage, or living apart but maintaining dating and intimacy. Amendments to the Social Security Act in 1977 provided that widows and widowers over 60 years of age could remarry and not suffer a reduction in their Social Security survivors benefits. Remarried persons are entitled to receive benefits on their deceased spouses' account equal to the benefit their spouse would have received if still alive. If the new spouse receives Social Security benefits, the other partner may elect to take a dependent's benefit on the new spouse's work record if that benefit would be larger than the one received from the former spouse. This rule does not apply to people under 60 or to those receiving benefits as a surviving divorced spouse.
Relationships without marriage may still represent a practical choice for some people. Some couples share apartments and living expenses in an effort to stretch limited incomes or simply for companionship. For others sexuality, companionship, intimacy, and warmth-which can remain important needs in old age-are the motive.
Deedy, J. Your Aging Parents. Chicago: The Thomas More Press, 1984.

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