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.

Free webinars for women on Social Security and retirement planning

It’s tougher for women to achieve a secure retirement. Women generally earn less than men — and live longer. But there are steps you can take to prepare for retirement, whether you’ve just started working or are nearing retirement age.

The National Women’s Law Center is hosting a two-part series of free webinars for service providers, advocates, and individuals. The first webinar focuses on women and Social Security, the second on pensions and savings.

There is no reason to be intimidated by retirement planning. The webinars, part of the National Women’s Law Center’s Citi Education Series on Family Economic Security, will give you some tips and strategies to obtain peace of mind.

These online workshops are free to participants, but registration is required.

What Women Need to Know About Social Security
1:00 p.m. EDT, Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Find out more about the benefits Social Security can provide, including before retirement, and about how your decisions (and your spouse’s, if you are married) about when to claim benefits can affect your retirement income.

What Women Need to Know About Pensions and Savings
1:00 p.m. EDT, Thursday, September 16, 2010
Find out more about ways you can save for retirement and manage your savings to improve your retirement security