Social Security Survivor Benefits aim to mitigate the problem of raising children on a single income by granting a widow monthly payments in her child’s name. However, as each child reaches the age of 18 (or 19, if he or she is attending elementary or high school full-time) his or her benefits are discontinued. As is increasingly common in today’s society, simply turning 18 is not indicative of financial independence. This paper attempts to discern whether a widow changes labor force habits when her children become legal adults and survivor benefits are reduced or discontinued. Though many of my results do not give convincing evidence that labor force habits of widows change relative to other women when their children turn 18, I did find that these women are more likely than their non-widowed counterparts to move from part-time to full-time work.

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