From Justice in Aging: For More Info, Go Here…
When older adults lose a spouse, unfortunately they often also deal with the loss of their economic security. Currently when both members of a married couple receive Social Security benefits, the death of one of the beneficiaries results in the surviving spouse being left with just the higher of the two benefits.
The POWR Act, introduced today by Representative Linda Sanchez, would create an alternative benefit equal to 75 percent of the combined income received when both spouses were alive. This would ensure that widows and widowers would not face a sudden drastic drop in income, and help people who have lost their spouse avoid losing their economic security at the same time.
Loss of income can cause significant hardship for the surviving spouse, and even push them into poverty. In fact, while people who are widowed make up just a quarter of the elderly, they make up 37 percent of low-income older adults. This economic insecurity is often borne by women, with approximately 3.6 million widowed women receiving survivor benefits, compared to just over 100,000 widowed men. As we’ve discussed in our previous brief on women and poverty, women are significantly more likely to lack economic security as they age.
Justice in Aging supports this bill, and others like it, that address the problems people face as they age and help all people age with dignity and justice.