3 Reasons Why Social Security is Important to Women

March 12, 2020 • By

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Last Updated: March 12, 2020

In the 21st century, more women work, pay Social Security taxes, and earn credit toward monthly retirement income than at any other time in our nation’s history. Yet, on average, women face greater economic challenges than men in retirement.

Nearly 55 percent of the people receiving Social Security benefits are women. Women generally live longer than men while often having lower lifetime earnings. And women usually reach retirement with smaller pensions and other assets compared to men. These are three key reasons why Social Security is vitally important to women.

If you’ve worked and paid taxes into the Social Security system for at least 10 years and have earned a minimum of 40 work credits, you may be eligible for your own benefits. Once you reach age 62, you may be eligible for your own Social Security benefit whether you’re married or not and whether your spouse collects Social Security or not. If you’re eligible and apply for benefits on more than one work record, you generally receive the higher benefit amount.

The sooner you start planning for retirement, the better off you’ll be. We have specific information for women. Email or post this link to friends and family you love.

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About the Author

Darlynda Bogle, Assistant Deputy Commissioner

Darlynda Bogle, Assistant Deputy Commissioner


  1. tony

    The SSA is finally modernizing the Social Security disability program. The White House wants the SSA to use the IRS definition of full time employee to mean 30 hours instead of 40 hours the SSA uses.

    It is about time we get these lazy Americans back to work and start paying the IRS FICA taxes to support the Social Security and Medicare trust fund.

    • tony

      People are working full time 30 hours a week paying FICA taxes to lazy people who say they are too disabled and can only work between between 30 – 39 hours a week.

      Why are we paying taxes for lazy people who can work?.

      • ST S.

        I wish you a disabling injury! I wish you a disabling medical condition! Then you can comment on lazy people.

    • tony

      Step 1 of the Social Security disability process is if the claimant is performing SGA. The next steps are additional burden which makes it harder to get disability

      In most States, working 40 hours minimum wage put them way over SGA.

      Why is the SSA lessening their burden by placing the 40 hours full time work requirement?

    • tony

      You know the Vocational Expert opinion is based on junk science. Someone might challenge the Vocational Expert’s data saying the jobs are based on the 30 hours work week instead of the 40 hours work week. Everyone gets their occupational job data from the IRS.

      • tony

        The US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor statistics definition of full time is 35 hours a week. The industry standard for statistical data is 35 hours. How can the SSA support the 40 hours when the vocational evidence goes by 35 hours?

    • Linda K.

      Social Security Disability payments are a taxable income until you reach retirement age

  2. Annamay G.

    I have very little work history. My husband and I had a blended family, my three kids, our three kids, and his mother and grandmother. I took care of the family and he worked. Common back at that time.
    Now I am 77, and terrified of the future! My husband needs a transplant, my youngest child is 40, they live all over the globe. What will happen to me?

    • ST S.

      I hope your husband’s medical care will permit him to live a long life, but, when he eventually dies (as we all do) you will be eligible for widow’s benefits.

  3. Richard P.

    My wife and I claimed our SS after we turned 66. She turned 66 before I did. The guy at the SS office said: If she waits to collect her SS until after I would turn 66 she would get a larger amount of money. But, she would have to take a reduction in her SS but when she reached 70 her SS would increase quite a bit. We still haven’t seen the increase in SS for her and we are 71 now.? Were we lied to?

    • Kenny O.

      Hi Richard, thank you for using our blog to ask your question. If your wife turned 62 before January 2, 2016, deemed filing rules do not apply to her if she waited until her full retirement age to file. If the deemed filing rule does not apply to her and she’s currently receiving just spouse’s benefits on your record, she can delay filing for her own retirement in order to earn delayed retirement credits, up to age 70. She needs to file for retirement as it does not happen automatically. See our Deemed Filing For Retirement And Spouse’s Benefits FAQs web page for details.

      For your security, we do not have access to your information in this venue. To inquire about switching over to retirement benefits, your wife will need to contact her local Social Security office or call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available to help you Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

    • ST S.

      If she had waited until 70, her benefit amount would have been higher. The amount does not go up at age 70 if you are already receiving benefits.

  4. Joe S.

    My wife has a Police Dept. pension and that makes her ineligible to receive any Soc.Sec. benefits from my pension if I should die before her. It would be called a
    “windfall” for her.Congress has been tinkering with this
    for far too long to get this squared away. I look forward to the posts and blogs from the SSA and read them every time I get them.

  5. Kathy V.

    My husband passed away and I was told I’m not eligible for his SS. They say we weren’t married long enough. When we married his cancer was in remission and he looked like a very healthy man . Eight months later he was gone. I took great care of him and now I’m on my own. It’s very difficult living on my SS.

    • Ronald D.

      Put the deceased spouse qualifications in your info. Why the partial?

    • Kenny O.

      Hi Kathy. We are very sorry for your loss. Generally, a surviving spouse or widow meets the duration of marriage requirement if the marriage took place no later than 9 months immediately preceding the day on which the worker died. There are some exceptions to the nine-month duration of marriage requirement. To learn more , visit our Survivors Planner: Survivors Benefits For Your Widow Or Widower.

  6. Kathryn P.

    I lost my retirement savings during the downturn when I could not find work, and had to take out student loans to get a new degree so I could work in a different field.
    I am working toward taking my Social Security at age 70. It is awesome to me! I can save and pay off the mortgage by continuing to work in yet a third career, Love willing. I love Social Security! I thank heaven for it.

    • Mary

      Bless you’re heart that you’ve been able to look at things in a positive way and continue being educated. and working. Retirement at 70 yrs young wow… good for you and I pray you get to see the retirement you’ve earned working and educating yourself all these years. Stay well from all the chaos happening in the world today.

  7. carmella v.

    so nice to read positive comments. bless u all

  8. Mona H.

    What concerns me is the decline in percentage of payout forthcoming. Turning 62 in four years. Last check of account showed payout then was at 75%. I have enough credits to file early, so that is my plan. Will wait and see how all pans out.

  9. Derek R.

    Very appropriate, relevant and timely is your article, responding to and inspiring women who have long struggled to meet equality to recognize their own worth and their benefits

  10. Jeanine F.

    I am grateful to you for Social Security, that is how I feel , and thank you.

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