The Social Security Gender Gap: How Women’s Earnings Affect Their Retirement Benefits

The Social Security Gender Gap

The Social Security Gender Gap refers to the disparity in retirement benefits that women receive compared to men. This gap exists due to several factors, including the gender pay gap, career breaks for caretaking responsibilities, differences in the amount of income earned, and Social Security taxes paid over the course of a person’s career.

Social Security Gender Gap: How Women’s Earnings Affect Their Retirement Benefits

Women receive $354 less on average per month in Social Security benefits than men, according to a May 2022 report by USA Today.

Social Security gender gap
The Social Security gender gap has been slowly narrowing over the last few decades as the gender pay gap shrinks as well. (Photo: ABC News)

This is a result of the Social Security gender gap pay, which has existed for decades, and the fact that Social Security benefits are based on income earned during one’s career. The more you earn, the more you pay into the system, and the higher your help. Since women have consistently earned less than men, their retirement benefits are significantly lower.

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Moreover, women are more likely to leave the workforce to care for children, which also affects their Social Security benefits. The benefit calculation takes into account the 35 highest-earning years. When someone leaves the workforce for an extended period, those zero-income years are factored in, which reduces the benefit amount.

How women can increase their Social Security retirement benefits

Although the Social Security gender gap has been slowly decreasing in recent years, there are several ways to increase retirement benefits, GoBanking Rates reported. Women can find opportunities to boost their income, such as asking for a raise, obtaining certifications or licenses, or switching to a better-paying job. It’s also essential to earning income for at least 35 years, even if some of those years involve part-time or side jobs.

Delaying the signing up for Social Security benefits can also lead to a higher check, as waiting a few years will result in a higher benefit. It’s crucial to remember that if you receive 1099 income rather than W-2 income, you will need to pay into Social Security on your own. Women should also consider remote jobs or side hustles to supplement their income if they can’t work outside the home due to caretaking responsibilities.

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