Client Login
Contact Us
Call Us

5 Things Every Woman Should Know About Social Security 

Information provided by 

There are many things a woman should know about Social Security. Here are five of the  most important Social Security messages every woman should know. 5 things every woman needs to know about social security

1. Nothing keeps you from getting your own Social Security benefit

  • If you’ve worked for at least 10 years and earned a minimum of 40 work credits, you  are vested in the Social Security system. 
  •  Once you reach age 62, you will be eligible for your own Social Security benefit  whether you’re married or not and whether your spouse collects Social Security or  not. 
  • Your retirement benefit is figured the same way a man’s retirement benefit is figured.  It’s based on a percentage of your average monthly wage using a 35-year base of  earnings. If you don’t have 35 years of earnings, we must substitute “zero” years to  reach the 35-year base. 
  • If you become disabled before your full retirement age, you might qualify for Social  Security disability benefits if you’ve worked and paid Social Security taxes in five of  the preceding ten years. 
  •  If you also get a pension from a job where you didn’t pay Social Security taxes (e.g.,  a civil service or teacher’s pension), your Social Security benefit might be reduced. 

2. There is no marriage penalty or limit to benefits paid to a married couple 

  • If you are married and both you and your spouse have worked, you will each be  paid your own Social Security benefit. 
  •  A working woman is not limited to one-half of her spouse’s Social Security. (That  rate applies to women who never worked outside the home.) 
  •  So, for example, if you are due a Social Security benefit of $1,200 per month and  your spouse is due a Social Security benefit of $1,400 per month, you will be paid  $2,600 per month in retirement benefits.

3. If you’re due two benefits, you get the one that pays the higher rate, not both 

  • Most women are potentially due two benefits: your own retirement benefit and spousal benefit on your spouse’s record. 
  • But you only get the one that pays the higher rate, not both. 
  • A wife is due between one-third and one-half of her spouse’s Social Security.
  •  Most working women who reach retirement age get their own Social Security benefit  because it’s more than one-third to one-half of the spouse’s rate. 
  • But if your spouse dies before you, you can apply for the higher widow’s rate. (See  number 5 below). 

what women need to know about social security

4. If you’re divorced and were married at least 10 years,  you’re eligible for some of your ex’s Social Security

  • Divorced women married at least 10 years are eligible for Social Security on the ex’s record if they are unmarried at the time they become eligible for Social  Security. 
  •  Some women sign divorce decrees relinquishing their rights to Social Security on  their ex’s record. If you were married at least 10 years, those clauses in  divorce decrees are worthless and are never enforced.  
  • Any benefits paid to a divorced spouse DO NOT reduce payments made to the ex or  any payments due the ex’s current spouse if he/she remarried. 
  • Generally, the same payment rules apply to divorced wives and widows as to current  wives and widows. That means most divorced women collect their own Social  Security while the ex is alive, but can apply for higher widow’s rates when he/she dies. 

5. When your husband or ex dies, you’re probably due a widow’s benefit 

  • Widows are due between 71 percent (at age 60) and 100 percent (at full retirement  age) of what the spouse was getting before he/she died. 
  • But we must pay your own retirement benefit first, then supplement it with whatever  extra benefits you are due as a widow, to take your Social Security benefit up to the  widow’s rate. 
  • We also can pay you a $255 one-time death benefit if you were living with your  spouse when he/she died. 
  •  If you made more money than your spouse, then he/she might be due a widower’s  benefit on your record if you die before he/she does.


For more information on how Ballast Advisors helps women discover their financial needs and goals, contact Ballast Advisors for a complimentary consultation at a location near you:

Ballast Advisors – Woodbury
683 Bielenberg Dr., Suite 208
Woodbury, MN  55125-1705
Tel: 651.478.4644

 Ballast Advisors – St. Paul
3820 Cleveland Ave. N, Ste. 500
St. Paul, MN  55112-3298
Tel: 651.200.3100

Ballast Advisors – Punta Gorda
223 Taylor Street, Suite 1214
Punta Gorda, FL  33950-3901
Tel: 941.621.4015

These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable — we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice. This material is for informational purposes only and should not be considered investment advice. This material concerns information regarding tax matters, and is not intended or written to be used,and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances.

Ballast Advisors, LLC is a registered investment advisor under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. More information about the firm,including its services, strategies, and fees can be found in our ADV Part 2, which is available without charge upon request. circumstances.