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Supporting women and children

By Lizna Odhwani

In March, our nation celebrates Women’s History Month. Today, more women work, pay Social Security taxes, and earn credit toward monthly retirement income than at any other time in our nation’s history.

Social Security has served a vital role in the lives of women for more than 80 years. With longer life expectancies than men, women tend to live more years in retirement and have a greater chance of exhausting other sources of income. With the national average life expectancy for women in the United States rising, many women have decades to enjoy retirement. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a female born today can expect to live more than 80 years. Women need to plan early and wisely for retirement.

The benefits planner website at www.ssa.gov/planners provides detailed information about how marriage, widowhood, divorce, self-employment, government service, and other life or career events can affect your Social Security benefit.

Your benefits are based on your earnings, so you can create your personal my Social Security account at www.ssa.gov/myaccount and review your earnings to ensure they are correct. If you find an error, gather proof of your earnings, such as a W-2 form, a tax return, a wage stub or pay slip, or your own wage records, and contact Social Security. Read the publication “How to Correct Your Social Security Earnings Record” at www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10081.pdf for more information.

Would you like to learn more about how Social Security supports women? Check out the online booklet, “Social Security: What Every Woman Should Know.” You can find it at www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10127.pdf. Sharing it with family and friends could change their lives for the better.

Should your baby get a Social Security number?

Getting your newborn a Social Security number is important. If your child is born in a hospital, the easiest way to secure a Social Security number is when you give information for your child’s birth certificate. If you wait to apply for a number at a Social Security office, you may encounter delays while your child’s birth certificate is verified.

When you give information for your child’s birth certificate at the hospital, you’ll be asked whether you want to apply for a Social Security number for your child. If you say “yes,” you need to provide both parents’ Social Security numbers, if you can. Even if you don’t know both parents’ Social Security Numbers, you can still apply for a number for your child.

There are many reasons why your child should have a Social Security Number. You need a Social Security number to claim your child as a dependent on your income tax return. Your child may also need a number if you plan to:

  • Open a bank account for your child.
  • Buy savings bonds for your child.
  • Get medical coverage for your child.
  • Apply for government services for your child.

You can read more about Social Security numbers for children at www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10023.pdf.

Share this information with people who are expecting a child. Applying for a Social Security card at the hospital will save them time and let them focus on the new member of their family.

Lizna Odhwani is a Social Security public affairs specialist based in Norfolk. Contact her at Lizna.Odhwani@ssa.gov.