Women May Face a Disadvantage with Social Security

Asset Protection Group | May 8, 2019

Planning for retirement requires us to take our individual financial situations into account, and balance those with our goals and budgetary needs in the future. So it isn’t difficult to imagine that retirement planning involves different questions and answers for each of us.

In many cases, we confront another variable within the planning process: Many women face somewhat of a disadvantage where there Social Security benefits are concerned. And since Social Security is one important aspect of retirement plans, we will need to plan around these differences in benefits.

This situation doesn’t apply to every woman, of course, and it also applies to some men. But in general, there are two major ways* that many women face a disadvantage with regard to Social Security.

Social Security benefits are calculated based upon lifetime earnings. To be specific, the Administration uses a formula that averages your highest-earning 35 years of employment. Plus, you must have worked at least 10 years to qualify for benefits in the first place!

Since women tend to be the caregivers in most families, often taking extended time away from their careers to care for children or aging parents, this can result in fewer years of employment overall. That means zeros may be averaged into the benefits formula, reducing monthly checks in retirement.

Of course, many women do return to employment after their children are grown, and work well into their sixties to remedy this situation.

Spousal benefits are available, but subject to a few rules. It is also possible to claim Social Security spousal benefits, instead of benefits on your own work record. Spousal benefits amount to half of the spouse’s monthly check.

But what if you’re divorced, or widowed? You can only claim spousal benefits if you were married at least ten years before the divorce or death (and a few other rules apply).


Asset Protection Group is not endorsed by or affiliated with the Social Security Administration or any government agency

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