| Q: Is it true that women generally get lower Social Security benefits than men?
A: Yes. In 2015, the average annual Social Security retirement benefit for women was $14,184; for men it was $18,000.
Q: Why the difference?
A: One reason is that many women take time off from their jobs and careers to stay home and raise their children. During the years they're out of the workforce, women don't earn credits toward Social Security benefits. So when they reach retirement age and their lifetime earnings are tabulated, they often lack the history of steady earnings of male workers. Also, in many fields women tend to earn less than men for doing the same work.
Q: So Social Security is less important to women than men?
A: Not at all. Social Security plays a vital role in the lives of millions of American women, young and old. It provides them with modest but significant and reliable levels of economic support, often at the most stressful times of their lives. Women who work earn retirement benefits. They're also able to rely on Social Security for a financial boost if they are divorced or widowed.
Social Security helps young mothers and their children survive when their breadwinners are disabled or die. And it extends to women who have never worked outside the home, allowing them to receive benefits by tapping into their husbands' work records.