More women work, pay Social Security taxes and earn credit for monthly retirement income in the 21st century than at any other time in our nation’s history. On average, women also face greater economic challenges in retirement than men.
Women generally live longer than men, although they often have lower incomes. Women can also retire with smaller pensions and other assets compared to men. These are two main reasons why Social Security is vital for women.
Women and men can receive benefits based on their own work record or that of their spouse. If you are a woman and have worked and paid taxes to the Social Security system for at least 10 years and earned a minimum of 40 work credits, you may be eligible for your own benefits. Once you turn 62, you may be eligible for your own Social Security benefits whether you are married or not and whether your spouse receives Social Security or not. If you qualify and apply for benefits for more than one work record, you will generally receive the higher benefit amount.
It’s never too early or too late to start saving and planning for your retirement. We have specific information for women at www.ssa.gov/people/women. You can also read the publication What Every Woman Should Know at www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10127.pdf.
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Kylle’ D. McKinney is a public affairs specialist in Alabama
This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: Women and Social Security