Quick facts about why Social Security is vital to Washington women and families

Via the National Women’s Law Center:

Social Security is a family insurance plan that provides retirement benefits and life and disability insurance to Washington’s working families.

  • About 1 in 6 residents – about 1,046,200 people – receives disability, survivor, and/or retirement benefits from Social Security.
  • 93 percent of residents 65 and older receive Social Security benefits.
  • About 70,500 children receive Social Security benefits because of the loss of a parent’s income due to death, disability or retirement.
  • About 180,900 disabled workers and their family members receive Social Security benefits.
  • About 80,000 widowed spouses receive Social Security survivor’s benefits. (Nationally, women represent virtually all (99 percent) of spouses receiving survivor benefits.)

Washington women depend on modest Social Security benefits to get by.

  • Women are a majority of both adult beneficiaries and beneficiaries 65 and older.
  • The average Social Security benefit for women 65 and older is about $12,400 per year, compared to about $16,500 for men 65 and older.
  • Older women rely more on income from Social Security than older men do. Median income for women 65 and older living alone is $18,200 per year – and Social Security represents 72 percent of that amount. Median income for comparable men is $27,500 – and Social Security represents 48 percent of that amount.

Social Security is a critical anti-poverty program for Washington women and families.

  • Social Security lifted 312,000 residents out of poverty, including 14,000 children.
  • Social Security dramatically reduced poverty rates for women 65 and older: from 43 to 10 percent for all women 65 and older, and from 63 to 16 percent for older women living alone.

Why Social Security is important to children

From the Alliance for Retired Americans:

Spotlight: Children and Social Security

Social Security provides vital life and disability insurance protection for millions of citizens, especially children and their families. About 6 million children under age 18, or nearly 9% of all children in the United States, benefit from Social Security as dependents of workers who have died or become disabled or as family members in households where an adult relies on Social Security.

Of the 6 million children in families that received Social Security, 1.1 million were lifted out of poverty by Social Security income. Children may receive Social Security benefits until they reach age 18, and if a full-time student, until they reach age 19. Disabled children may receive benefits indefinitely as long as the disability was incurred before reaching age 22.

For 75 years, Social Security has operated as a family insurance program that serves Americans of all ages. In addition to being a retirement program, Social Security provides a safety net for more than 53 million Americans, including retirees, the disabled, children and families.

Read more from Spotlight: Children and Social Security »

En Español | Enfoque: Los Niños y el Seguro Social »