Social Security Benefits, Rights Differ for Women

Article excerpt

Why should women need special information about Social Security if Social Security is the same for men and women?

This is a question we often get when we tell women they need to be especially alert about their Social Security rights and responsibilities.

We explain that women on the whole have different work patterns, different levels of earnings, different societal roles and tend to live longer.

This all makes a difference in how well they fare under the Social Security program.

For example, although Social Security pays benefits to a spouse of a retired worker, women are more likely to qualify on their spouse's record because they are more likely to have worked as homemakers rather than outside the home.

The following list should help you focus on those aspects of your Social Security coverage that may have special impact on you as a woman:

- Should you take benefits as a wife? Women often find themselves in the position of having to decide whether to take a benefit on their own work record or their husband's work record.

When you file we will review all records on which you may be entitled and advise you of the different amounts. You will have different choices depending on whether your spouse is still living or is deceased.

- Look at all the options. We will show you how much your benefits would be under any of the scenarios listed above. Some of the decisions are yours, but we will be glad to give you the information you need to make them. …