In November, we show gratitude for the many things we are thankful for throughout the year. Family usually tops the list. The strong women in our lives are one of the central figures we appreciate.

More women in the 21st century work, pay Social Security taxes, and earn credit toward monthly retirement income than at any other time in our nation’s history. Yet, on average, women face greater economic challenges in retirement than men.

The majority of the people receiving Social Security benefits are women. Women generally live longer than men while often having lower lifetime earnings. And women may reach retirement with smaller pensions and other assets compared to men. These are three key reasons why Social Security is vitally important to women.

If you’ve worked and paid taxes into the Social Security system for at least 10 years, and have earned a minimum of 40 work credits, you may be eligible for your own benefits. Once you reach age 62, you may be eligible for your own Social Security benefit whether you’re married or not and whether your spouse collects Social Security or not. If you’re eligible and apply for benefits on more than one work record, you generally receive the higher benefit amount.

The sooner you start planning for retirement, the better off you’ll be. We have specific information for women at www.ssa.gov/people/women. You can also read the publication What Every Woman Should Know at www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10127.pdf.

Please share these links with friends and family you love.

Daniel Damceski is the staff assistant/state liaison for central Ohio. You can write him c/o Social Security Administration, 200 N. High St., Columbus, Ohio 43215 or via email at daniel.damceski@ssa.gov. Demeski writes a weekly column published in The Logan Daily News. The views of this column may not necessarily reflect those of the newspape

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