Social Security is a key component of people's retirement income. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, women get almost half of the benefits of the program while paying just 41% of payroll taxes.

In the following video, Dan Caplinger, the Fool's director of investment planning, discusses the center's look at women and Social Security in an effort to explain the center's findings. Dan notes the center's findings that women on average have lower lifetime earnings than men, allowing women to benefit from Social Security's progressive formula for calculating benefits. Moreover, Dan observes that women have longer life expectancies, thereby receiving payments for a longer period of time. He talks about how Metlife (NYSE:MET), Prudential (NYSE:PRU), Genworth Financial (NYSE:GNW), and other annuity providers typically have different payouts for men and women, but Social Security pays the same amount regardless of gender. Finally, Dan discusses the impact of survivors' and spousal benefits on the total amount that women get from Social Security.

Fool contributor Dan Caplinger and The Motley Fool have no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.