divorce

Social Security Is a Lifesaver for Many Women

How do Women collect Social Security?

Social Security a Women Lifesaver

Social Security is a retirement, disability and life insurance program and if you’re a Woman, this can be a lifesaver in retirement. It’s not that women are more interested in a financially secure old age than men. Americans of both sexes rely on Social Security for critical support in their retirement years, but for a variety of reasons, it’s often women who depend on it the most.

  • Longer lives – Women, on average, live longer than men. Without sufficient private retirement savings, this longevity can result in Social Security being the sole or majority source of income. The potential of running out of retirement savings is a problem that affects many retirees, but because of their longer life expectancy, more women end up counting on Social Security alone to support them.
  • Smaller paychecks – Sadly women on average don’t earn as much as men. They often work in fields that are lower-paid than those where men predominate, and even in the same job women frequently earn less than a man does in the same position. Fair? Maybe not, but it’s a fact. That makes it harder to save for retirement and reduces pension benefits, where they exist. As a result, Social Security often forms a greater part of women’s retirement income than men’s.
  • Fewer working years – Between raising children and caring for aging parents, women often take years out of their careers that men do not. While some men do choose to stay home with children or serve as caregivers for parents, it is far more likely that a woman will do so, statistically speaking. Since the formula that determines Social Security benefits is biased toward lower-earning workers, women get some protection from the hit they would otherwise take from a shorter work history.
  • Less other retirement income – Men are more likely than women to have pensions through their jobs, and to have larger pensions than the women who do qualify (partly because of women’s shorter work histories and lower wages). Without this additional income in retirement, women tend to be more dependent on the benefits they receive from Social Security than men are.

Social Security shouldn’t be your only plan for retirement income, but whether or not it is supplemented by private savings, if you’re a woman, it’s a critical component. Having a plan with your spouse before taking benefits can make a huge difference in how much money is available in retirement. Sign up today to have your own customized Social Security plan www.socialsecuritybp.com or info@socialsecuritybp.com.

Not associated with or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any other government agency.

Social Security Myth #3: Divorce Always Costs You!

MYTH: If you’re divorced, your only option is to file for Social Security based on your own work record.

Luckily for many divorcees, this isn’t the case at all. If you were married for over ten years, you can still file for benefits as if you were married.  This means that as in Myth #2, you can receive up to half the amount of your ex-spouse’s retirement benefit.

If you do not remarry and your ex precedes you in death, the Social Security Administration considers you to be widowed. As a widow or widower, you are eligible to receive the full benefit that your ex-spouse earned – just as if you had still been married at the time of his or her death.

Some divorcees worry that collecting the benefits to which they are entitled will cause resentment, either in the ex-spouse or his or her subsequent spouse (or spouses). The common assumption is that if one ex-spouse is receiving benefits, that will negatively impact the amount other current or previous spouses can receive, or even prevent them from receiving benefits at all.

There’s nothing to worry about, because everyone who can collect Social Security benefits based on a previous or current marriage to someone who is vested into the system does so independently. Even if your ex-spouse married several other people after you divorced, it doesn’t matter. If each marriage lasted over ten years, all the previous spouses – and the current one as well – will be able to collect the full amount of spousal or widower’s benefits.

If the marriage didn’t last for ten years, however, there is no benefit for an ex-spouse. Here is to your fantastic retirement!

Not associated with or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any other government agency.

Social Security Myth #2: You Didn’t Pay In, You Can’t Collect

social security myth

MYTH: If you are married and were a non-working spouse or did not have enough work credits to qualify on your own, you are not eligible for Social Security.

It seems obvious enough. If you didn’t pay into the system, you can’t collect from it. Fortunately for many homemakers, that’s not how it works in all cases. Social Security has protections in place for spouses that raised children or otherwise didn’t pursue a career while their husbands (or wives) earned the household income.

While both spouses are living, the non-working spouse can collect up to half the amount of the working spouse’s full retirement age benefit. If widowed, the non-working spouse will receive the full Social Security benefit that the deceased spouse was receiving.

If both spouses qualify for benefits based on their individual work histories, the one with the lower benefit will receive additional Social Security income for a total benefit amount equal to one half the amount received by the higher-earning spouse.

To be eligible for Social Security, an individual must have paid into the system for at least 40 quarters, paying Social Security taxes through payroll withholdings or directly to the IRS. That means at least ten years of paid work.

Social Security reviews the last 35 years of work history to determine your benefit amount, and zero income years will take your benefits down. If you own a business and your spouse assists you in running it, make sure to pay for the work – at least $5,200 a year. This will allow your spouse to earn Social Security credits and become fully vested in the system, which means more income in retirement for both of you.

Not associated with or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any other government agency.