• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • How to Make Social Security Work Better for Women

    President Obama’s recycled economic plan sorely lacks the much-needed reforms to make Social Security work better for women.

    The program needs to do a better job dealing with the circumstances women face in retirement. More women than men rely on Social Security as their sole source of income, and yet their benefits are lower on average. Social Security is failing especially non-married women, who face some of the highest poverty rates in retirement. The program is in dire need of structural reforms.

    Among retired workers, women received $300 less than men in Social Security benefits in 2010, collecting only $1,023 in monthly benefits on average. Women are more likely than men to lack all of the necessary 35 years of payroll tax contributions to qualify for full benefits, as many take time off from the workforce to care for children and elderly parents. And those who don’t have a full work history are even worse off. Many seniors receive benefits below the federal poverty level.

    Women are particularly at risk. Non-married women are almost twice as likely to retire in poverty, with 15.5 percent being poor, compared to the average among all Social Security recipients of 8.9 percent. Retiring in poverty is hardly a way for women to “retire with dignity and the respect that they’ve earned,” as the President says in his new booklet. And yet the President has no agenda to improve their situation or to reform Social Security at large.

    Social Security’s growing and permanent deficits are threatening an across-the-board 25 percent benefit cut in 20 years. The President won’t even acknowledge Social Security’s financial problems and instead stated during the first presidential debate that the program was “structurally sound.” This coming benefit cut would affect women—whose benefits are already lower than men’s—the most.

    The Heritage Foundation has a plan to strengthen Social Security for all seniors, including women, assuring them protection from poverty in retirement. Under Saving the American Dream, Social Security would gradually transition to a flat benefit of about $1,200 that provides predictability and economic security for all. This benefit is higher than the average benefit women receive today and would always be above the poverty level.

    The Heritage plan would also make Social Security a properly financed, true insurance program. By limiting benefits to those who actually need them, the Heritage plan would avert the looming cut to Social Security’s benefits for all recipients, and it would do so without burdening younger generations with higher taxes.

    Retiring in poverty is far from retiring with dignity and respect. The President has not put forth a plan to reform Social Security so that all seniors, including women, may find economic security in retirement.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to How to Make Social Security Work Better for Women

    1. BNDunlop says:

      Excellent points made here…a recent story in USA Today made similar points about women without the solutions proposed here. Thanks for the great work.

    2. saveamerica says:

      The war on women has established itself by all accounts and actions through the democratic party. The democrats blame their opposition for what the democrats already have in the make. All of a sudden he has a book in hand as if it was written the night before. Nothing the democrats are doing, have done and continue to do is trustworthy. Words mean nothing when there's no substance to them and promises mean nothing as they are broken while democrats communicate coded messaging. No promise is a good promise when people are subject to sacrifice for government's political gain and by direct imposition of views from government ignorance. Heritage plan is far more decent, comprehensive and appropriate without inviting government play and pay games. This man and the democratic party don't even know what "patriotism" means while they manipulate the populace with their misinterpreted version. Patriotism has nothing to do with government members or authority. Patriotism has everything to do with self governing. Of course seniors need help when there is no one else to help and the government needs to do their promised job for seniors that the democrats have been taking advantage of their vulnerabilities for mere political gain.

    3. Bobbie says:

      How to make social security work better for women? Get Obama, his contingents and his game playing OUT! Workable solutions are contained in Heritage Save the American Dream that honorable leadership with respect to Americans will implement!

    4. Chris Armstrong says:

      Social Security/Medicare are NOT an ENTITLEMENT. We, who have worked, have paid into it…and it should be there for us…and not have been used as a bottomless resource of cash for DC Pols so they can grease the skids of their re-election bids… It has been shown…that if that money had been left to us to invest, we could have made better decisions that would have better secured our financial futures! What have we got to show for what we did pay into? Reams of IOUs in a huge government Ponzi scheme! Now there are rumors that, if given a second term, "Obama" will come after our IRAs…401ks…etc and loot them as well in order to BE FAIR and redistribute the wealth… The ONLY ENTITLEMENT I see is the money distributed to a class that has never worked for it…THAT needs to be stopped!

    5. Jeanne Stotler says:

      i AM one of those women who are living in poverty, with only social security as income. I am a widow and I went back to work after my husband died, I schooled my children — one was just starting kindergarten. I went back to school and worked full time, raised my kids and then got injured lifting a patient and I had to retire at 61. I have great kids, without them I would be on the street. Please do not equate my social security with welfare. I WORKED for my benefits! There is a big difference between getting welfare and social security — it’s called WORK.

    6. Zahid says:

      Heritage plan is far more decent, comprehensive and appropriate without inviting government play and pay games. This man and the democratic party don't even know what "patriotism" means while they manipulate the populace with their misinterpreted version. Patriotism has nothing to do with government members or authority. Anabelle Rosanda

    7. Zahid says:

      Patriotism has everything to do with self governing. Of course seniors need help when there is no one else to help and the government needs to do their promised job for seniors that the democrats have been taking advantage of their vulnerabilities for mere political gain. <a href=" http://fishoiluse.com&quot; rel="dofollow">fishoiluse.com

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×