2005-08-18 / Columnists

Social Security And You

By James Glasser, Manager, Far Rockaway Social Security Center

James GlasserJames Glasser On August 26, America observes Women’s Equality Day. Historically, this date marks the passage of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote.

Today, women have challenging choices to make.

Some may spend their entire adulthood in a career or job outside the home.

Some may work for a few years, leaving the workforce to raise children and eventually return to work.

And some may choose not to work outside the home.

Whether they work, have worked or have never worked outside the home, it is essential that women understand how Social Security can help them and their families.

That is also why Social Security has a special web page on our Internet site at www.socialsecurity.gov/women entitled “For Women.” Here is a sampler of the information that is available there, conveniently categorized by the different “roles” that women may play throughout their lives.

Working Women — A “Benefits Planner” explains how you qualify for Social Security benefits, which members of your family may get benefits based on your earnings record, and how and when to apply.

Women also can use links to outside web sites that discuss other sources of retirement income and post-retirement concerns such as housing, medical care and leisure activities.

Bride — Brides may find the information about “Changing Your Name” especially useful. If a woman marries and changes her name, she must be sure to tell Social Security and her employer about it. It can help ensure that she will get the benefits she is entitled to when she applies for Social Security. Visitors also can get an application for a new Social Security card on this web page.

New Mother — Learn about the importance of Social Security numbers for newborns and about benefits for children.

Divorced Spouse — At this link, visitors can learn if they would be entitled to divorced spouse’s benefits, and also what happens to benefit entitlement if a woman remarries.

Widow — Here visitors can read about the requirements for widow’s benefits, and also learn about the importance of Social Security survivors benefits in family financial planning.

As the site notes, “If you are married and both you and your spouse are wage earners, you should consider survivors benefits from two perspectives. For one, when you die, members of your family could be eligible for benefits based on your earnings.

You also should consider the benefits you and your family would be eligible to receive if your spouse died.”

Visitors can click on convenient links to learn more about each situation.

Social Security plays an important role in providing economic security to all Americans.

Security offers a basic level of protection to all women covered by the programs.

With nearly 60 percent of the people receiving benefits today being women, it is important that all women understand the benefits to which they may be entitled.

Regardless of what a woman’s life situation may be, Social Security’s web page “For Women” at www.socialsecurity. gov/women can offer useful, practical information.

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