Women and Social Security: Benefit Types and Eligibility
Spouse or family Social Security benefits are important for women because many women do not earn sufficient credits throughout their working career to be eligible for their own benefits due to caregiving for children or other family members. A recent analysis shows that 30 percent of women workers spent 4 or more years out of paid work during a 15-year period, compared with only 4 percent of men. A larger percentage of women than men become eligible for Social Security benefits as spouses, caregivers of minor children, widows, surviving dependent parents, and so forth.
This Briefing Paper describes how women can be eligible for different types of Social Security benefits – retired worker, disabled worker, and survivor benefits – not only as a worker, but also as a spouse or a family member. It also shows how Social Security provides a critical income source for women at different ages as well as for children, by examining data on current beneficiaries.
What We Do
NCRW is a network of leading university and community based research, policy, and advocacy centers with a growing global reach dedicated to advancing rights and opportunities for women and girls. We also have a Corporate Circle comprised of senior diversity professionals from leading U.S. and global member companies and a Presidents Circle of college and university leaders who share our commitment. NCRW harnesses the collective power of its network to provide knowledge, analysis, and thought leadership on issues ranging from reducing women’s poverty to building a critical mass of women’s leadership across sectors.