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Social Security: How Marriage Fraud Threatens the System


Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Social Security pays generous benefits to spouses. Because of this, the Social Security Administration has to fight marriage fraud in order to keep the finances of the Social Security program viable.

In the following video, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, looks at why marriage fraud is such a huge threat. Dan notes that there's a big financial incentive for retirees to get married if they aren't already, as spouses qualify for spousal benefits after just one year of marriage and for survivors' benefits after just nine months. In return, spouses can get a lifetime of Social Security benefits, even if they wouldn't qualify for any based on their own record. Dan points out that most fraud detection efforts center on marriages that weren't legal, but he concludes that even legally binding marriages could eventually pose a financial threat to the program if they're done only with Social Security benefits in mind.

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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2014, at 4:13 PM, 36003657 wrote:

    I was surprised by the time limits. The last time I checked with the SS ADMINISTRATION YOU HAD TO WAIT FOR TEN YEARS, NOT ONE, TO QUALIFY FOR THESE BENEFITS. wHAT'S THE DEAL?

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Dan Caplinger
TMFGalagan

Dan Caplinger has been a contract writer for the Motley Fool since 2006. As the Fool's Director of Investment Planning, Dan oversees much of the personal-finance and investment-planning content published daily on Fool.com. With a background as an estate-planning attorney and independent financial consultant, Dan's articles are based on more than 20 years of experience from all angles of the financial world.

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