Social Security launches new Web page, online application for benefits

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Recognizing the special importance of Social Security to women and the need for women to have access to timely, accurate information about their rights to benefits under the program, the Social Security Administration (SSA) unveiled a new Web site, Social Security Online "For Women." The site provides basic Social Security program information on retirement, survivors, disability and Supplemental Security Income benefits pertinent to women.

Larry Massanari, acting commissioner of social Security, said that, "The Social Security program treats all workers men and women exactly the same, but because of different life experiences, the real world results are different. As a group, women live longer than men, earn less and rely on Social Security for most of their retirement income. They need to know what the program means to them in their particular circumstances."

"For Women," www.ssa.gov/women, provides links to basic information throughout SSA's official web site Social Security Online that can be relevant to women at different stages in their life. The links are grouped to coincide with the various life events affecting women: Working women, new mother, beneficiary, divorced spouse, bride, caregiver and widow.

"For Women" also provides links to other federal agency Web sites containing information of interest to women, such as the Department of Labor's "Women's Bureau," the Department of Health and Human Service's "Women's Health" and the White House's Federal Programs and Resources for Women and Families."

Women who visit Social Security Online will find another recent and useful SSA innovation. In April, SSA expanded its online Benefit Application to include the ability to apply for Social Security Spouse's benefits.

Since November 2000, interested persons could apply for Social Security retirement benefits online at www.ssa.gov, the official web site for the Social Security Administration. By completing one application, an individual can now apply for their own retirement benefit, or a spouse's benefit or, if eligible for both, their own retirement benefit and their benefit as the spouse of a retired worker.

While both men and women can apply for Social Security spouse's benefits online, the fact remains that more women than men qualify for a Social Security benefit as the spouse of a retired worker. Approximately 700,000 people apply for spouse's benefits annually, over 90 percent of them women.

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