What Women Get From Social Security And Pensions

Two major sources of retirement income are Social Security benefits and retirement plans or employer pensions.*

Social Security provides benefits to 9 out of 10 men and women age 65 and older. You may receive Social Security benefits based on your own work record, your spouse’s work record or a combination of both. You always receive the highest amount for which you are eligible.

 

Who Receives Social Security Worker Benefits? (Figure 1)

MEN Aged 62-64+ 65-69 70 and older
1995 46.8% 83.4% 91.2%
2000 43.2% 90.8% 90.3%
2005 38.4% 91.0% 93.8%
2006
36.4% 84.8%
91.5%
2007 32.8%
83.0%
92.2%
WOMEN Aged 62-64+ 65-69 70 and older
1995 36.8% 56.7% 57.7%
2000 36.0% 63.1% 59.7%
2005 34.1% 66.9% 61.3%
2006
33.8%
65.2% 62.0%
2007
31.1%
65.1%
63.1%

Source: CRS: Older Workers Employment and Retirement Trends, Sept 16, 2009

 

In contrast, just over 4 out of 10 older men and 2 out of 10 older women receive income from retirement plans or employer pensions. (See Figure 2.) Not all employers are able to offer retirement income options. In the case of women, they have more diverse work patterns than men and that often means they lose the opportunity to participate in a plan because they are part-time workers or do not stay on the job long enough to qualify for the plan.

 

Who Receives Income from Retirement Plans or Employer Pensions? (Figure 2)

MEN Aged 65+ Retirement Plans or Employer Pensions*
1995 46.8%
2000 43.0%
2005 43.1%
2006 43.6%
2007
41.6%
2008
42.4%
   
WOMEN Aged 65+  
1995 27.3%
2000 28.9%
2005 29.0%
2006 28.1%
2007 27.8%
2008
29.0%

* The term “retirement plans” includes a traditional pension, a retirement savings plan, or both.

Source: CRS: Older Workers Employment and Retirement Trends, Sept 16, 2009

 

As long as women continue the work patterns that involve part-time work and moving in and out of the paid labor force to provide family care, the benefits they receive from retirement plans or employer pensions will be lower than men’s. And, Social Security, which is portable from job to job and is cost-of-living adjusted at retirement, will remain the mainstay of retirement income for women.

 

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