Why Social Security Retirement is Important to Women

March 7, 2019 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: July 16, 2021

" "Social Security plays an especially important role in providing economic security for women. 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. But, women face greater economic challenges in retirement. Women:

  • Tend to live longer than men. A woman who is 65 years old today can expect to live, on average, until about 87, while a 65-year-old man can expect to live, on average, until about 84.
  • Often have lower lifetime earnings than men.
  • May reach retirement with smaller pensions and other assets than men.

Social Security offers a basic level of protection to all women. When you work, you pay taxes into the Social Security system, providing for your own benefits. In addition, your spouse’s earnings can give you Social Security coverage as well. Women who don’t work are often covered through their spouses’ work. When their spouses retire, become disabled, or die, women can receive benefits.

If you’re a worker age 18 or older, you can get a Social Security Statement online. Your Statement is a valuable tool to help you plan a secure financial future, and we recommend that you look at it each year. Your Statement provides a record of your earnings. To create an account online and review your Statement, visit our website.

If your spouse dies, you can get widow’s benefits if you’re age 60 or older. If you have a disability, you can get widow’s benefits as early as age 50. Your benefit amount will depend on your age and on the amount your deceased spouse was entitled to at the time of death. If your spouse was receiving reduced benefits, your survivor benefit will be based on that amount.

You may be eligible for widow’s benefits and Medicare before age 65 if you have a disability and are entitled to benefits. You also may be eligible for benefits if you are caring for a child who is younger than 16.

Our Social Security for Women page has valuable resources for people of all ages.

To read more about how we can help you, read and share the publication, What Every Woman Should Know.

Did you find this Information helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!
See Comments

About the Author

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications


  1. Christine

    Contacting you from Canada on behalf of my parents. They are both residents of Canada, receiving SSA pension from past work in the USA. Would very much appreciate number to call in order to discuss two items. First, how to report the death of a recipient (father passed away), then how to apply for mother to receive any potential widow benefits, etc.? Thanks in advance

    • Luis A.

      Hi Christine. We are sorry for your loss. Please contact our (Social Security Administration’s) Resident Office for those beneficiaries and claimants residing in Canada. Your parent’s Canadian Province and/or Postal Code is needed to readily determine the Resident Office. Click here to see the offices. If they reside in Ontario, please click here. We hope this helps.

  2. angel c.

    I have worked for the federal gov’t for over 40 years. Half of that time I was in three different wars. Yet when i went to ask for my social security benefits I was told that I had to choose between me getting my social security benefits or my son getting his medicaid. My son has been diagnose with Duchanne MS. That was my choice to CHOOSE between the two options. What? When i try to talk to them they insist that is not their decision that it was mine to choose between letting my son died and me getting my social security benefits; OR letting my son get medicaid and I forfeit my social security benefits. CAN YOU PLEASE EXPLAIN WHY I HAVE TO CHOOSE?. My son is and individual as I am a separate entity who was told all of his life that if i work hard I will get a social security retirement. My son was never mention (since he wasn’t even born when I started working paying to the social security system). Now I will be 65yrs of age… And they (SS office) still demand I choose, that i cannot have both?)

    • angel c.

      this is angel cruz.. FYI… I am NOT having both options. I demand for what I work for. My son as an individual who has been diagnose as medically fragile should get medicaid support. This is a sad country when illegal aliens, refugees, etc. are treated with more concern than someone who spend half of his life fighting in foreign wars.

  3. Zaitoon

    Thanks for sharing such useful information for women.

  4. Zaitoon

    Thanks for sharing such useful information for women

Comments are closed.