Today, almost 60 percent of the female population works outside the home. While social security has always paid benefits to women, more women than ever now qualify for the protection social security can provide. Working women earn protection for themselves and their families, should they die or become disabled. Through work, they also earn credits toward retirement benefits. As long as you pay social security taxes, these benefits apply whether you are self-employed, or work for someone else. There is also coverage for women who have never worked; they may be eligible through their husband's work record, receiving benefits when he becomes disabled, retires, or dies. Special rules apply if you are disabled, or caring for children under age 18. There are also special guidelines for widows. If your husband dies, you can receive widow's benefits if you are 60 years or older. If disabled, widow's benefits are payable to those 50 and older. As a widow, you may also be eligible for medicare at age 65, assuming your husband worked long enough before his death. There are many ways that women may qualify for social security benefits. To find out more, call the social security office, at 1-800-772-1213. Ask for the publication, what every woman should know. Or, speak to a representative.