Ever since the establishment of Social Security in 1940, women have been relying on these benefits to provide for themselves and their families after retirement. Your Social Security taxes pay for three different types of benefits: retirement, disability, and survivors benefits.
Social Security Retirement Benefits
Retirement benefits are the cornerstone of the Social Security program. According to the
Social Security Administration (SSA), women have historically tended to rely more heavily on Social Security retirement benefits than men. That’s because women typically live longer and are less frequently covered by traditional retirement plans. So even if or when you have no other sources of retirement income, your Social Security benefits cannot run out during your lifetime. You qualify for Social Security based on your own work record and income history; if you’re married, you might also qualify based on your spouse’s work record.
Social Security Disability Benefits
Another important function of Social Security is to provide disability benefits should you become ill or injured during your working years and are unable to provide financially for your family. To qualify for disability benefits you must have worked a certain amount of time in recent years and have a disability that is expected to last at least a year (along with meeting other requirements). Certain family members, such as dependent children, may also be eligible to collect benefits based on your work record. Eligibility requirements are strict, so Social Security disability benefits should be used to provide for basic income protection and not in place of other disability plans.
Social Security Survivor’s Benefits
Social Security can provide valuable income protection to go along with any life insurance policy you may hold and can be claimed by dependent persons such as a surviving spouse, unmarried dependent children, or dependent parents. You and your family members may qualify for these benefits when your spouse dies, if you are at least 60 years old, or if you’re caring for a child who is younger than 16 or disabled. You yourself may qualify at age 50 if you are disabled.
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Source: Adapted from an article by Broadridge Investor Communication Services, Inc.