Q&A: Nonworking spouse Social Security benefits

Nonworking spouse benefits

I would like to know how much is paid out yearly in Social Security spousal benefits to spouses who did not work.

Kia Green, of the Social Security Administration press office, said such breakdowns in statistics are not kept. She did provide a report indicating that in December 2010, spouses made up 5 percent of Social Security beneficiaries, children were 8 percent, widows or widowers and parents 9 percent, disabled workers 15 percent and retired workers 64 percent.

And in September, according to the report, there were almost 2,298,212 spouses of retired workers receiving benefits — 2,236,522 women getting an average of $589.93 a month, and 61,690 men getting an average of $378.36 a month.

When candidates get protection

At what point in a presidential campaign does a candidate receive Secret Service protection?

Candidates, according to law, must be identified as "major presidential and vice presidential candidates" by the "Secretary of Homeland Security after consultation with an advisory committee consisting of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the minority leader of the House of Representatives, the majority and minority leaders of the Senate, and one additional member selected by the other members of the committee," according to secretservice.gov.

Those candidates and their spouses are required to have protection up to within 120 days of the general election, but President Barack Obama was under protection starting on May 3, 2007, about 18 months before the 2008 election, the earliest a candidate has been provided Secret Service security, an NPR.com story said.

As a former first lady, Hillary Clinton had a security detail throughout her campaign, but John McCain declined protection until about five months before the election. The Secret Service began protecting presidential candidates after Sen. Robert Kennedy was assassinated in 1968.

Fund paid for armored buses

A recent article stated that the Secret Service purchased a bus (actually two buses at $2.2 million). The article states that the buses will be used by other officeholders and candidates. Was this a purchase using taxpayers' money?

The Secret Service bought two buses, using tax dollars, to transport President Barack Obama and his staff, other officeholders and Republican presidential candidates on campaign trips leading up to the 2012 election.

Despite the $2,191,960 cost for the two jet black buses, which are customized with armor and classified technology, the Secret Service said the buses are cheaper than leasing two buses over a 10-year span, the Christian Science Monitor reported.

Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan told the Associated Press the money was taken from a fund for transportation and armored vehicles.

Q&A: Nonworking spouse Social Security benefits 10/03/11 [Last modified: Monday, October 3, 2011 8:33pm]

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