Understanding the rules about Social Security benefits and when to start claiming Social Security can be difficult. But they’re critically important, especially for women — since women typically live longer lives than men.

The new book, “What’s the Deal With Social Security for Women?”, by retirement consultant Marcia MacDonald Mantell, is extremely helpful, according to Next Avenue, a nonprofit journalism website.

Here’s an excerpt about three important factors women should take into consideration when deciding the right time to begin claiming Social Security benefits.

So much of your final decision about Social Security will depend on your personal situation at the time of claiming. Before deciding when to claim, however, there are other financial realities to carefully consider.

Among them are the following:

The Earnings Limit Test This is used when you are working but decide to claim Social Security before your Full Retirement Age.

Taxation of Social Security Benefits Depending on your overall income, some of your Social Security benefit will be part of your taxable income.

Medicare Premiums and Social Security Benefits The Medicare health program for people 65 and older is integrated into, and coordinated with, Social Security. There are implications to your benefit payment amount when you are enrolled in Medicare and collecting Social Security.

For more inforamtion on the new book, and more help on understanding these benefits, go to Nextavenue.org.