Disability, Online Services, Retirement

Helping Women Secure Today and Tomorrow

August 28, 2017 • By

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Last Updated: November 3, 2023

three woman taking a picture together Social Security is with you through life’s journey — from when you’re born, through your working years, and into retirement. We provide information and tools that help you make better decisions about your retirement future. Women face unique challenges when choosing when to retire and in making other decisions related to their future Social Security benefits.

On average, a woman who is 65 years old today can expect to live to about 87. By contrast, an average 65-year-old man will live to about 84. Women tend to earn less over the course of their lifetime than men and enter their retirement years with smaller pensions and other assets. This can translate into a smaller benefit amount.

Marriage, divorce, and widowhood affect the benefit amount you receive, as you may qualify for a higher benefit on your current, former, or deceased spouse’s record. It all comes together with information and planning.

With longer life expectancy than men, women must plan accordingly for retirement, as all these factors could affect you when you decide to begin receiving Social Security retirement benefits. As you plan for the future, Social Security is with you every step of the way.

It’s never too early to begin developing a sound financial plan. A great way to get started is by creating your personal my Social Security  account. It’s free, fast, and secure and gives you convenient access to your personal Social Security information. With a my Social Security  account, you can review your Social Security Statement to get estimates of your future retirement, disability, and survivors benefits. You can also verify your earnings are posted correctly. Social Security benefits are based on your lifetime earnings, if you worked.

With retirement, disability, survivors, and other benefits, Social Security is here to help you secure today and tomorrow. To learn more about why Social Security is important to women, please visit https://www.ssa.gov/people/women/.

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About the Author

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications


  1. Debra

    I’m a disabiled widow collecting disability and survivors benefits. I live in WA state, 61yrs old and need to move in a month. I have looked every way, everywhere I can think of. Unfortunately for some seniors technology is not a friendly.
    Does SSA offer any type of housing help for disabled seniors looking for affordable housing? If so please forward any information ASAP. Thank you

    • AKA

      I seriously doubt that SSA can get a letter to you. The PO generally won’t deliver to addresses such as : Debra, Washington State. Further SSA is not in the housing business. I suggest you contact your local Public Assistance Office or inquire at a Senior Center. Section 8 housing my be the answer for you.

    • Kenny O.

      Hi Debra. Please contact the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for information and housing assistance. U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development. We hope this helps.

  2. Hospitals &.

    The one budgetary success of the ACA was in reducing national health expenditures is in reducing state Medicaid payments to 11% of federal payments. This must be sustained in hopes of reducing national health expenditure to less than 10% of GDP by 2020. Health budget efforts must be careful not to allow any hyperinflation from occurring in response to other reasonable macroeconomic budget cuts that are not thought to get through the accounting fraud to actually cause any deprivation of relief benefits.

    • AKA

      A budgetary success is measured in reducing an individuals health care cost. No one gives a crap about national expenditures.

      • Marc

        “No one gives a crap about national expenditures…” Um, “national ecpenditures” are our tax dollars. National expenditures pay for roads, sewers, air traffic and highway safety, dams, drinking water, national parks & forests, courts, military, imports and exports of the goods and services we need to live…there’s not enough space here to list everything. The ONLY role if governments is to take care of the day-to-day needs of the PEOPLE. That’s what national expenditures are, that’s what you and I and everyone pays taxes for…and that’s why EVERYBODY should “give a crap” about national expenditures.

  3. Hospitals &.

    2.6% HI Tax Spending Limit FY 18 HA-28-8-17 http://www.title24uscode.org/hhs18.pdf

    It has been reported that the Treasury is going to discontinue refundable premium and cost-sharing reduction subsidies (for health insurance corporations with profit margins >10%) under the Affordable Care Act beginning FY 18. Un-redressed CMS accounting error is now the only reason the United States (US) is incapable of joining Hospitals & Asylums (HA) in declaring a federal budget surplus FY 18 under Art. 2 Sec. 2 of the US Constitution.

    To balance the federal budget, 6% annual growth in Part A tax revenues must run over into 3% health benefit growth in Parts A, B & D benefits from FY 14, effective FY 18. HI tax spending should be 4% family and child benefit spending growth FY 18 under 31USC§101.

    Federal outlays for Medicare are estimated by Part A payroll tax revenues and Part B & D general revenues from the 2017 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Hospital Trust Fund and Supplemental Medical Insurance Trust Fund FY 14-17 after which time FY 14 becomes the baseline for sustainable 3% annual growth. Federal outlays are estimated for Medicaid from 2016 CMS Statistics with 3% benefit spending and 2.5% administrative spending growth from FY 14.

    The HI payroll tax is growing 6% annually and HI spending has stabilized at 2.1% growth. After experimentally reducing Part B & D outlays FY 17, federal outlays must go down in all three federally financed Medicare plans FY 18. Surplus FY 18 HI revenues must either run over into Medicaid price-controlled Part B & D payments or the $281.7 billion generated by the 2.9% HI tax rate must be somehow reduced to $255.9 billion, a tax rate of 2.6%, keep the 0.9% tax on the incomes of the rich – 15.0% Federal Income Contribution Act (FICA)?

    Does CMS have any undistributed offsetting receipts to report left over from the $917.1 billion federal outlays estimated to be administered FY 17 and $906.7 billion FY 18 from Oct. 1 under 31USC§1106?

    • AKA

      Is there a real relevant question in your cut and paste or are you just wasting people’s time with gibberish?

  4. Denise W.

    I have a question regarding whether there is a death benefit provided through the Soc. Sec. Admin. When my mother died, I was her sole beneficiary and tried to get info about this so it would assist in funding her funeral expenses. People told me there was a benefit but I could not get an answer from Soc. Sec. Office. Could you please clarify for me.

    • AKA

      The death benefit of 255 dollars is only available to the surviving spouse.

    • Kenny O.

      Hello Denise. Thank you for your question. The Lump-Sum Death benefit of $255 (a one-time payment) may be payable upon the death of a person who has worked long enough to be insured under Social Security. An application for the Lump-Sum death payment must be submitted within two years of the insured person’s death. In addition, eligible family members may be able to receive monthly Survivor benefits. For more information on this, please read How Social Security Can Help You When a Family Member Dies at: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10008.pdf. Hope this helps!

  5. Edith

    I learned that wife can receive one half of husband social security at age of 66. I’m at age 77 and my husband is 78. Is it too late to apply for theone half ? Will I get back pay from the age 66 to current?

    • AKA

      If you receive more that 1/2 of his on your own record then you can’t get 1/2 of his. As a widow you’d probably get his amount

      • Edith

        No I am way less than the one half amount of my husband. I’m like 500 dollars less than half of my husbands.

      • Edith

        No I am way less than the one half amount of my husband. I’m like 500 dollars less than half of my husbands. Please advise.

    • Kenny O.

      Thank you for your question Edith. Your benefit as a spouse can be equal to one-half of your husband’s full retirement amount only if you start receiving those benefits at your full retirement age. If a person begins to receive benefits at age 62 or prior to their full retirement age, their benefits are reduced. The reduction factors are permanently applied to all of the benefits the person may qualify for once they opt to start benefits at age 62 or at any time prior to their full retirement age.
      Remember, if you qualify for your own retirement benefits based on your own work history and also benefits as a spouse, we always pay your own benefits first. If your benefits as a spouse are higher than your own retirement benefits, you will get a combination of benefits equaling the higher spouse benefit. See our Retirement Planner: Benefits For You As A Spouse for more information. To see if you qualify for a higher benefit than what you are currently receiving, contact your local office or you may call our toll free telephone number at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and ask a representative to assist you. We hope this helps.

      • Edith

        Thank you for answering the question. But do I still get back pay from the time of age 66 to now or starting now once I apply for it.

        • Sharon

          It depends, if your husband put that he was married on his original application, and you were never notified to apply for your spousal benefit, Social Security may go all the way back to the date of his application or your Full Retirement Age of 66. Call your local Social Security office to make an appointment to make sure you are receiving your spousal benefit if you are entitled to one.

  6. Georgeann C.

    I am 87 and my husband is 89. I know about the fact that if he predeceases me my income will change to his because he has earned more than I did. What worries me is that this change will force me to downsize again because I may not be able to continue to live where I AM TODAY. What plans are in the future to help women like me?

    • AKA

      None, at your age you can remarry without penalty.

    • Marc

      Why would you have to downsize? I’m not following you – if he made more than you, and your Social Security amount changes, you will receive that higher amount, if ypur benegit is less. Unless you’re thinking about having to live on only one Social Security income when he passes. But that can’t be what you mean either; why would you expect to receive two retirement incomes for one person anyway? That’s not the way it works. Sorry, I just didn’t understand your question.

  7. Lesly F.

    I have no complaints social security administration because in the past they help me until now i am positive about my Word.

  8. Cindy

    I’m surprised at how little literature there is out there to help women who need to be on their own want to be on their own and have nowhere to go and have no choice but to stay in the situation they’re at. It really upsets me. Maybe I’m missing something I don’t know ?‍♀️

    • AKA

      Go to your Public Assistance Office, they can make referrals for you.

    • DeeMarie R.

      Your correct Cindy, little to none on the publications or literature about Food Stamps SNAP’s, I really need to know why that is ? And, sorry but I don’t follow your reply about woman ….who have no choice….what’s exactly unfair to you ? I don’t even know what that means ?

      • Marc

        Are you serious??? There’s an entire website with links to nearly a dozen more websites, all related to the SNAP program! Information describing every aspect of the program in detail, including qualification criteria and links to income limits and poverty level guidelines etc; recipes, meal planning, nutritional advice, applications, referrals to other agencies, and HUNDREDS of publications you can download for free or order in hard copy, also for free! It’s hard to believe everone has computers, every piece of information in the world is available to us all, and just curiosity and a few clicks will take you there. Yet tragically, most people use these powerful tools for nothing more than social media and posting complaints about “the government” which are all wrong, simply because they lack information – information that’s been there all along, waiting for them to just look at it. Nope, people would rather get their (false and incorrect) information from crooked politicians with an agenda, and biased, uninformed TV personalities who don’t know what they’re talking about, either. That’s how FAKE information is perpetuated, when nobody looks the truth up for themselves, when it’s available to them straight from the horse’s mouth. “SAD!”

  9. DeeMarie R.

    I was PUNISHED by the local Food Stamp SNAP office for an unknown reason. The SNAP office ripped me off some $70.00 per month for the next coming 12 months when it renewed my annual reapplication. The SNAP people were rude, nonsensical and stated in word and in writing, “that i HAVE to be nice to THEM, or they can and will take away some or all of the SNAP allotment “. I am afraid to reapply because they can and will MAYBE take away even more of my SNAP food dollars, simply and just because they CAN. Please help. Please reply as soon as possible, from the Pacific Northwest Region of the U.S. of A.

    • AKA

      Your beef is with your local public assistance office not Social Security.

      • DeeMarie R.

        Please tell me, here, who is aka ?

        • Kenny O.

          Hi DeeMarie. We encourage discussions on our blog [Social Security Matters]. Our goal is to offer important retirement and disability-related solutions for readers. That said, please note that our official agency responses will always include the Social Security Administration (SSA) seal, and that we have an official social media team dedicated to posting messages and responses to customer inquiries or comments that specifically address SSA issues. While we welcome general participation from everyone, we ask that participants be considerate of others and to be polite when posting comments. Thank you for your support and for using our blog.

          • DeeMarie R.

            was someone not polite?

    • DeeMarie R.

      I need a reply from Kenny Oguejiofor, Public Affairs Specialist please ?

      • DeeMarie R.

        I Do receive a benefit from Social Security. The deal was to include SNAP and MEDICAL. The rip off happened this May 2017 and began effective June 2017.
        I am NOT a public assistance woman.

        • Marc

          Social Security is NOT SNAP or Medicaid. These are all separate programs run by separate government agencies. Every government agency has its own website that tells you everything you need to know, and you can always call the proper office too. When you have an attitude of “they ripped me off” from the get-go, it’s not as easy to get cooperation & understanding. Try to remember the people who work in government offices are human just like you…how would you feel if your job was to help people with their questions and they started put with “you ripped me off?” Humans instinctively get on the defensive when approached in a hostile manner. If you think this is impolite, you are incorrect. I am not with the SSA, but I am knowledgeable about the system and I read all the information these government websites provide to us as citizens, so that’s how I get my information. Since you’re posting on this site, clearly you have access to a computer. Why not click around and explore the site, it’ll have links to all the other brnrgots/agencies you have questions about. You can’t just start off assuming the government means you harm and blame them, especially when you’re not even blaming the agency who handles that program. Again, SNAP, Medicaid, and Social Security are 3 separate programs handled by 3 separate governmental agencies. USES has SNAP, your state’s website will have the necessary Medicaid information, and Social Security is it’s own complete, separate agency. Hope this clarifies a little bit.

          • Karen

            Good answer. Less emotional response and being more analytical would go a long way in solving the problem.

  10. mary j.

    can I draw off my ex=husbands social security if I’m disabled?

    • AKA

      Maybe, but with no further information an answer can’t be given. Also, this site is not designed to answer questions unique to an individual. Go into a SS office or call 1-800772-1213.

      • Kittybee

        Then why do you continually answer questions and give advice? You’re not an SSA rep.

        • Karen

          Stop being peevish. You aren’t giving enough information even if they could answer. Get ALL your information – Just the facts (as Jim Webb use to say) and go see or call them.

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