Currently, if Wife has been married at least ten years to Husband, even though she has not been out in the working world at all or if she's has a much lower income (think "glass ceiling" for women), she can expect to elect to base her social security income at retirement on her husband's higher earnings. Her ex-husband will not punished by this, and his social security income will not be reduced at all by this. However, recently Congress ripped this out from under seniors calling these "loopholes" that need to be closed to stop people from collecting more in Social Security income than was intended. This is information that is very important for divorce lawyers, for divorcing couples and for Boomers who are still working to know.
Seniors should act promptly--prior to May 1, 2016--to preserve important Social Security benefits. After May 1, 2016, no one will be able to voluntarily “file and suspend” benefits for the purposes of either; 1) triggering a spousal benefit for a spouse; or 2) protecting the right to file for retroactive benefits. Act during the grace period if you are at least 66 years or have reached the age of 66 before May 1 to voluntarily “file-and-suspend” in order to be grandfathered into the old Social Security rules. The spousal benefit protects future security of one who has been married at least 10 years so that he/she can claim Social Security based upon the other spouse's higher earnings. [Note: This does not affect the Social Security benefits paid to the other spouse.]