This report describes the current-law structure of auxiliary benefits for spouses, divorced spouses and surviving spouses. It also discusses some of the issues concerning the adequacy and equity of the current-law structure of auxiliary benefits, and presents some recent proposals.
Entitlements are programs that require payments to persons, state or local governments, or other entities if specific eligibility criteria established in the authorizing law are met. Entitlement payments are legal obligations of the federal government, and eligible beneficiaries may have legal recourse if full payment under the law is not provided. This report briefly discusses entitlements and entitlement procedures in the federal budget process.