Brenda Brown

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By Brenda Brown
Social Security Public Affairs Specialist, Fayetteville

In the 21st century, more women work, pay Social Security taxes, and earn credit toward
monthly retirement income than at any other time in our nation’s history. Yet, on average,
women face greater economic challenges than men in retirement.

Nearly 55 percent of the people receiving Social Security benefits are women. Women generally
live longer than men while often having lower lifetime earnings. And women usually reach
retirement with smaller pensions and other assets compared to men. These are three key reasons
why Social Security is vitally important to women.

If you’ve worked and paid taxes into the Social Security system for at least 10 years and have
earned a minimum of 40 work credits, you may be eligible for your own benefits. Once you
reach age 62, you may be eligible for your own Social Security benefit whether you’re married
or not and whether your spouse collects Social Security or not. If you’re eligible and apply for
benefits on more than one work record, you generally receive the higher benefit amount.

The sooner you start planning for retirement, the better off you’ll be. We have specific
information for women at www.socialsecurity.gov/people/women. Email or post this link to
friends and family you love.

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