Friday, June 26, 2009

Women and Social Security

This week I attended a webinar sponsored by the National Women’s Law Center on women and Social Security which reiterated the importance of Social Security for elder women.
Here are some important facts shared on the webinar:

  • As a widow, you can choose to take your widow benefit (as a result of your deceased spouse) or your own worker’s benefit first. By waiting to claim benefits until full retirement age, a high earning spouse will provide a large Social Security benefit to the surviving spouse.

  • If your marriage lasted for 10 years and you are currently divorced, you get the same benefits as a current spouse or widow and do not have to wait until your ex-husband applies to receive his benefit, as long as both of you are 62 and have been divorced for at least two years.
Older women in retirement struggle to make ends meet, and older minority women are more likely to have a tough time in retirement. Social Security is the sole source of income for one in five elders, and women are almost twice as likely to live in poverty as a man in their older years. Check out WOW’s Single Elder Women’s fact sheet for more information on how vital Social Security is for so many elder women. Social Security alone is not enough, but without it some elder women would have nothing to support themselves.

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