I think you may have misunderstood either what you read or was told. Your mom was a housewife all her life, to your dad, yourself and other siblings. No doubt your dad claimed your mom as a dependent spouse. he paid taxes on his earning on not only his behalf, but also your Mom's behalf. Therefore she is entitled to collect social security benefits should your Father die. That is providing he was of retirement age. (which could be anywhere from 62-67 years old depending on when he was born) When you claim taxes as a married couple, you get some perks, but not as many as people think. Your dad paid taxes in actuality that covered two people. It irks me a bit when people get on stay at home moms (or dads) there was a time when that was the norm and IMHO America was a better place for it. Stay at home parents do there part, I think young people especially are clueless how much effort goes into running a home successfully. People say they can't save, look at the modern lifestyle, small wonder that savings are on the decline. two earners might be the new norm, but I am for from convinced it is for the better.