Women and Social Security


All Americans need to understand at least the basics of the Social Security program. For women, there are reasons it can be especially important.

Here’s why:

  • Women tend to live longer than men, which means they are more likely than men to get Social Security survivors benefits;
  • Women will probably have a greater financial need for Social Security retirement benefits, and collect them for a longer period of time since they live longer; and
  • Women are more likely to be affected by some Social Security provisions than men, such as changing their surnames after marriage or divorce.

So Social Security has two ways for women to conveniently get information about Social Security that directly addresses their needs.

Women will find our special webpage on women’s issues helpful. The webpage is entitled “For Women” and can be found at www.socialsecurity.gov/women.

On the left side of the page is a listing of “roles” that a woman may play in life, such as working woman, beneficiary, bride, new mother, divorced spouse, caregiver and widow. When you click on any one of these roles, you are taken to Social Security information that would be of interest to you. For example, “new mother” leads you to links on getting a Social Security number for your newborn, benefits for children, and more.

On the right side of the webpage is a listing of Social Security programs — retirement, survivors and disability — as well as links to the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicare programs. And in the center of the “For Women” webpage are links to such topics as “Don’t Outlive Your Retirement Savings.”

This link is one that many working women will find particularly helpful because it takes them to Social Security’s financial planning website at www.socialsecurity.gov/planners. They can use the calculators there to test different retirement ages or different scenarios for future earnings amounts.

It also provides some detailed financial information about how marriage, widowhood, divorce, self-employment, government jobs and other life or career events can affect Social Security. And it includes a link to a non-Social Security worksheet that will help visitors decide how much they need to save and invest for a comfortable retirement.

For all this, and other useful Social Security information important to women, visit the “For Women” page at www.socialsecurity.gov/women.