Despite decades of social and economic gains, older American women are still twice as likely as elderly men to be living near or below the federal poverty line. Two-thirds of American women older than 65 have no retirement income other than Social Security and the average monthly Social Security benefit for women is around $1,000.
Many factors contribute to this disparity, but unequal pay, retirement plan access, family obligations, and financial literacy are the main causes.
Addressing America's looming retirement security crisis is a social and economic imperative for women and all working Americans.
This Women's History Month, SEIU's Retirement Security for All campaign is joining with other organizations to explore how we can make the American Dream of delivering retirement security to more working women a reality.
Check back throughout the month of March for more content from the nation's leading experts on retirement security.
If you are you on Twitter, please join us at 2:00 pm ET on March 13 for a tweetchat on women and retirement security with the National Women's Law Center. Our chat hashtag is #WomenRetirement.
Elderly Women the Most Vulnerable, Social Security the Most Protective
by Elise Gould, The Economic Policy Institute
Social Security (and other social insurance programs like Medicare and Medicaid) has significantly helped reduce elderly poverty over the last several decades. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that 15.3 million elderly people would have been in poverty in 2012 without Social Security. That would have meant close to four times more elderly people in poverty. The figure below illustrates how declines in elderly poverty are directly associated with sharp increases in per capita Social Security expenditures--evidence that direct government transfers keep many people from falling below the poverty line. Read more on the EPI blog.