What Every Woman Should Know About Social SecurityReading Time: 1 Minute
Last Updated: April 14, 2017
Retirement planning is especially challenging for women. We tend to live longer, and it’s not uncommon to have “off-ramped” from work at some point(s) to raise kids or care for a loved one. And because this affects lifetime earnings, it may also affect your eventual Social Security benefit. Don’t get me started on the gender wage gap.
Here’s what women need to understand about Social Security.
- You can claim a benefit based on your own work history, or you may be able to claim a benefit based on your spouse’s Social Security earnings record.
- You are eligible for Social Security if you have worked (and paid into the system) for 40 quarters, which is 10 years.
- Your benefit is based on the highest 35 years of earnings. That’s where working through your 60s might be helpful, if it knocks out some of your lower-income years from your benefit computation.
- If you are eligible for benefits based on your own work, and also benefits based on someone else’s work, such as your spouse, you will get your own benefit first. If the benefit you are eligible for based on someone else’s work is higher than your own, you will get a combination of the two that equals the higher amount.
- If you were married at least 10 years before you divorced or if your marriage ended in death, you may be eligible to claim a benefit based on your former or deceased spouse’s Social Security record.
SSA does not endorse any particular financial advisory product or service.
Tags: retirement, retirement benefits, social security, Social Security benefitsSee Comments
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Need an answer…….. are there tax discounts( property and school) for a retired widow of an armed forces husband .
Hi Carol, your question is an income tax question, and you will need to contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Their toll-free number is 1-800-829-1040. Thanks!
i received SSI right now and i am 58 years old. Will i continue to receive the ssi when i reach retirement or will they switch me over when i reach 66.
Hi Kim! We pay disability via two programs: the Social Security Disability Insurance program (SSDI), for people who have worked and paid Social Security taxes long enough to be eligible, and the Supplemental Security Income program (SSI), which pays benefits based on financial need.
Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits, automatically change to retirement benefits when disability beneficiaries attain their full retirement age. Generally, the benefit amount remains the same.
If you receive SSI benefits and are insured for retirement benefits, you are required to apply for those benefits at age 62. We hope this information helps!
I am widow getting benefits . when I die will my benefit from late husband, go to my son who is also getting benefits from his deceased father. Would my $1610. be combined with his $1681. or does he get a portion of the $1610.
Hi Nancy. Generally, we pay the highest benefit amount a person may be entitled to receive.
Simultaneous entitlement exists when a claimant is entitled to a child’s benefit on two records. However, a person’s benefit amount can never exceed the highest of either benefit amount to which they are entitled to.
The Social Security Act provides that a child entitled to child’s benefits on more than one SSN will receive benefits on only one. That child is actually entitled (paid) on one SSN and “technically entitled” on the other. Maximums from all SSNs that the child is entitled on may be combined on the SSN where payment is actually made.
The rules are complicated and vary depending on the situation. We recommend that you speak to a Social Security representative. Please call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Or contact your local office directly. Thanks.
I am currently drawing SS on my work history.
How do I find out if I’m eligible to draw on my husbands.
He is not deceased and currently drawing on his work history. His is more than mine but if could draw same as his that would really help financially. Thanks
Thank you for your question, Phyllis. If you qualify for your own retirement benefits and for 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. Your benefit as a spouse could be equal to one-half of your spouse’s full retirement amount -ONLY- if you start receiving those benefits at your full retirement age.
Generally, when you apply for Social Security benefits, during the initial interview, we explore for other possible eligibility that can pay you a higher benefit amount.
To see if you qualify for a higher benefit amount, please contact a Social Security representative. Thanks!
If my husband precedes me in death, will I automatically be assigned his benefits, or can I continue to draw my benefits until I am full retirement age, then switch to his full benefits?
Good question. Generally, survivors benefits are paid at a higher rate.
If you already receive retirement benefits, you can only apply for benefits as a widow if the retirement benefit you receive is less than the benefits you would receive as a survivor. The rules can be complicated and vary depending on the situation. You will have to contact your local office or call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. for further assistance. Thanks.
i am 70 years old (born 1948) and drawing social security, my spouse is 58 years old (born 1960). She has been a housewife and has not worked enough to draw social security. Can she draw spousal benefits? If not old enough, how old does she have to be to draw spousal benefits. My tax preparer says it may be possible because of my age.
I would like to know if, I can collect on my first Husbands benefits from being in the Navy for 4 years. I just saw a website, http://www.ssa.gov/retire2/military.htm, and it said that if someone was in active duty between Jan. 1957-Dec. 31, 2001, the money credited to their SS. Now, you can get refunded on that money? I cant seem to find a site to ask questions about it? Thank you
Hi Mary! If you are divorced, but your marriage lasted 10 years or longer, you can receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record if:
•You are unmarried;
•You are age 62 or older;
•Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits; and
•The benefit you are entitled to receive based on your own work is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s work.
Your divorced spouse’s benefits are based on the ex-spouse’s earnings.
Any military “special extra earnings” for your ex-spouse military service, are credited to your ex-spouse’s record for Social Security purposes only.
Your benefit as a divorced spouse cannot exceed one-half of your ex-spouse’s full retirement amount (or disability benefit) if you start receiving benefits at your full retirement age. See “If You’re Divorced” for more information.
I would like to retire in the next 6 months, and am having a hard time deciding if I should take spousal benefits, or my own benefits. I will be age 63 this year in September, and I am so ready to retire. If I take spousal benefits, I will only receive 35%.
You may be able to get spouse’s retirement benefits if you are at least 62 years of age and your spouse is receiving retirement or disability benefits. Also, if you qualify and apply for your own retirement benefits and for 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 “What do the Recent Social Security Claiming Changes Mean for Me” for more information on the changes of the new law. We hope this information helps!
He is still working but what I have read doesn’t say he has to be retired.
Hello Judith, you may be able to receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record at (your) age 62 if:
• You were married to your ex-spouse for at least 10 years;
• You are unmarried;
• Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits and,
• The benefit you are entitled to receive based on your own work is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s work.
For more information, please visit our Retirement Planner: If You Are Divorced.
Also, you should know that we pay disability benefits to people who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last one year or more or to end in death. If you meet our definition of disability, You can apply online. Or call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Thanks!
My ex husband and I were married over 10 years. I have gone through pancreatic cancer and not well enough to go back to work. Where do I start requesting 1/2 of his social security. He is a architect and hs been since I met him.
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