Social Security is foundational and essential to the retirement security of women, especially women of color. Yet Social Security’s modest benefits are already declining, as the retirement age increases and rising Medicare premiums consume a larger share of monthly benefits. In addition, there is a gender gap in Social Security retirement benefits. Disruptions to women’s labor force participation precipitated by COVID-19 threaten to further reduce their future Social Security benefits, and thus their retirement security.

The root causes of women’s lower Social Security benefits must be addressed, and paired with targeted improvements to the Social Security program. This includes improving benefits in ways that center women – especially women of color—and bolstering the solvency of the Social Security Trust Fund.