Gender Gap in Pay Costs Society in Long Run

The points in this story apply equally to women who are disabled and entitled to Social Security disability benefits. The amount of benefits paid is tied to prior income for regular Social Security disability payments.

The link is simple and clear: Women earn less than men in the workplace – almost $450 billion less in total each year nationwide – resulting in lower Social Security payments after retirement. The pay discrimination against women not only hurts their current well-being and future security, but also means tens of billions less in revenues to fund Social Security.

U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Social Security Works co-hosted a telephone press conference call, releasing SSW’s research on how closing the gender pay gap can improve women’s Social Security benefits and strengthen the program’s finances. The conversation was also joined by Ben Veghte, Research Director at Social Security Works, and Stephanie Connolly, legislative and policy associate at Social Security Works.

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 was passed 51 years ago. Despite having made tremendous gains, women still face discriminatory pay in the workplace, earning on average only 77 cents for each dollar earned by their male counterparts. The pay disparity affects all income levels – even women in higher earning fields are affected, the report says.

The impact of the pay gap is also long-term. Social Security benefits are based on lifetime earnings, so women are penalized in retirement because they were not compensated equally during their working years. For Americans over 65 today, women receive only $12,000 annually on average from Social Security, while men receive more than $16,000. Furthermore, statistics show that women live longer; that’s one reason women are more than 60 percent of all seniors relying on Social Security.

Women are receiving a quarter less in benefits than men each year, but more than three quarters of women rely on Social Security as their primary source of income. The damage of gender discrimination in the workplace thus becomes life-long. Full story here: .