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  Spring 2009

Social Security “Family Plan”
MUST Change to Recognize Motherwork

“Family Plan” Economically Discriminates Against Caregivers of Disabled Children

Are you aware that Social Security has a “Family Plan”? Yes! A “Family Plan”.

This Plan denies full Social Security Spousal Benefits to all moms who give birth and take care of a developmentally disabled child throughout adulthood.

When Social Security beneficiaries retire, their spouse is entitled to 1/2 of the retirees’ benefits. However, parents of Disabled children must share these benefits with the disabled child/ren. This leaves very little Spousal Benefits. This rule is the basis for what is known as “Family Plan”.

“Family Plan” is wrong. This “family plan” must be eliminated from Social Security altogether.

            “Family Plan” ~ it sounds like something every Political Party would like to be a part of. “Family” is really big in everyone’s lexicon. Use the magic word “Family” and win votes.

            The truth is, for 15 years I have had no favorable response from any U.S. Senators, Congresspeople, or presidents.

            I took care of my autistic, retarded son for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for 24 years. So I did not build up enough work quarters to qualify for Social Security on my own. I did not receive any pay from anyone. I also took care of our 6 other children daily. They all have college degrees.

            I am 80 years old.  I have lost about $62,000 since I turned 65. My disabled son now lives in a group home. He receives my other half of spousal benefits.

            This is the same for 20,000,000 mothers of the developmentally disabled all over America. They have taken care of their disabled child only to have full spousal benefits denied to them at age 65. Following is an example of my Social Security amount in 2008.


Bank Account Statement

05/02/08            My Husband – Social Security           $1,457.00

05/02/08               Me – Social Security                       $   348.00


If you have spent your life working 24-hour-a-day job, without pay, taking care of a loved one, you are virtually excluded from spousal benefits.

            Impoverished people with disabilities are eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Food Stamps, and Medicaid. SSI money is out of General Revenue Funds. “Family Plan” is part of the Social Security system. Only non-poor parents of developmentally disabled children must give up their spousal benefits.

Spousal benefits for parents of Developmentally Disabled should not be denied to elderly women (and some men), who have spent their life caring for their loved ones. I love Bernard, as do other parents of our God-Given disabled. Our lives are built around and for them. But we need spousal benefits to eat in our old age the same as everyone else.

            Please write to your Congressperson and to your local newspaper to let them know the “Family Plan” is wrong. THIS “FAMILY PLAN” NEEDS CHANGE.  Mothers of adult children in our enormous prison system do not lose “spousal benefits”. Mothers of adult children in of our enormous drug and alcohol systems do no lose “spousal benefits”.

            Only 20 million loving, caring, giving, full-time caregiver birth mothers lose “spousal benefits”. WHY???

This rule is grossly unfair, unjust, and immoral.  SILENCE NO MORE!

Ruth Beckner
Jbeck1924@cs.com; 415-479-9542; www.familyplan-ssa.org


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