Social Security Benefits
It would be unfortunate to exclude the paradigm change of social security in a global setting, which is affected with numerous predicaments including the financial and economic crisis. The impact of a continuously unstable world, which include, persistence of the casual economy, high-rate of unemployment, and the growth in vulnerability and poverty gives the world a reason to embrace social security policies. Therefore, social security presents itself as a crucial component of “good society” as well as collective mechanism of helping the retirees, particularly women, concerned and improving their welfare.
Social Security Benefits
Although, social security is neutral irrespective of whether one is male or female, i.e. persons with equal earnings are judged under equal terms of benefits, there exist certain demographic features that mostly favour women than their counterparts (Social Security Administration, 2013).
An individual can claim her/his retirement benefit at the age of 65 years. Below the age of 61, the earnings are wage-indexed, however, at the age above 62 years the Primary Insurance Amount (PIA) is attuned to match changes in price levels. Therefore, women are more likely to benefit from this plan compared to their counterparts because of their longer life expectancy. Elderly women are expected to live more years in retirement, and this will allow them to exhaust their alternative income sources. For instance, studies indicate that a woman who was 65years old by 2011 was expected to live, on average, additional 20.7years unlike men who have additional 18.7years. In addition, female gender hold 56% of all social security funds, and about 68% of beneficiaries are women above 84years (Purcell, 2005).
The second benefit comes from the progressive nature of social security policy. The policy provides a greater percentage benefit to lower-income earners and a smaller percentage to high income earners. Therefore, when computing PIA, the PIA factors decrease with an increase in the earning so as to replace bigger pre-retirement earning proportions for employees with lower income than those with higher incomes. Worldwide, women are commonly associated with low-income earnings, thereby placing them in a better position to benefit from the scheme. A survey done in 2011 established that the median income of full-time working-age women were $36,000 while men were $48,000. In the same year, the mean annual social security earnings collected by women above 64 years was $12,188 against $15,795 for men. Furthermore, there is provision of dependent benefits to divorced spouses, elderly widows, spouses, and widows with young children (Social Security Administration, 2013).
Interestingly, in 2011, unmarried women as well as widows of age 65 years and above had a 50% claim on the total social security revenues. On the other hand, unmarried men’s earnings comprised of 36% of social security benefits while 31% belonged to the elderly couple’s income. Within the same year, the study established that most elderly unmarried women, 48%, who were on social security plan depended on it for more than 90% of their incomes (Social Security Administration, 2013).
The truth is that elderly women have a lower likelihood of owning significant family wages in other pensions other than social security compared to men. By 2010, only 22.6% of elderly unmarried ladies age above 65 years were obtaining their own private pensions compared to27.3% of men. In the current workforce, there are many campaigns championing for women’s employer-sponsorship retirement schemes. In 2011, the campaign had 55.2% full-time employed women participants in both private and public sector against 52.5% of men. In summary, women receive relatively lower pension benefits because of their low remunerations (Social Security Administration, 2013).
Under social security, women are also entitled to receive benefits as spouses as well as workers or survivors of employees. Family benefits are crucial given that the majority of ladies earn insufficient income all-through their working career, rendering them incapable of owning their own benefits because of providing care to children and other family members. In addition, several women earn insignificant amount compared to their husbands; hence they rely on a widow and spousal’s retirement. Statistics show that, within a period of 15years, 30% of ladies spent over 4years out of paid job as compared to only 4% of men (Hartmann, 2010).
In conclusion, the management responsible with social security need to come-up reforms and fiscal responsibility that address ways of increasing revenues for payment of current law benefits. It should also look for an alternative mechanism of increasing social security benefits to disadvantaged groups and to those who are not favoured by the current system (Hartmann, 2010).
Hartmann, Heidi. (2010). The Importance of Social Security Benefits to Women. Institute for Women’s Policy Research, pp. 1-5.
Social Security Administration. (February 2013). Retrieved November 15, 2013 from <http://www.ssa.gov/pressoffice/factsheets/women-alt.pdf>
Purcell, P. J. (2005). Progressive Indexing of Social Security: Effects on Future Benefits. Journal of Pension Planning and Compliance, 31, 3. Proquest Central pg55-62.