Caring for a family member in need isn’t an option. Be it a child, a disabled family member or a senior in need of care, family is family.
Family members who need to reduce or leave the paid workforce find that, in addition to lost income from wages, their Social Security benefits will be lower down the line because Social Security benefits are based on an individual’s paid work history. Everyone who has ever been a caregiver knows it is hard work, and it is time our Social Security system recognizes it!
Now, there is something that we can do about it. Recently, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) introduced the Social Security Caregiver Credit Act of 2014 (HR 5024). The bill provides an earnings credit for up to five years of caregiving time when an individual leaves the workforce or has reduced earnings because of caregiving. Join Social Security Works, Center for Community Change Action, and our partners in supporting this critical piece of legislation.
Recent polling shows that 68% of voters support counting caregiving for children, chronically disabled relatives, and aging family members towards Social Security benefit calculations. The establishment of a caregiver credit would bolster the economic prospects of unpaid caregivers and would provide vital retirement security to vulnerable populations, especially women and low-income families.
Jeannie Brown of Belgrade, Montana, who left the workforce to care for her chronically disabled granddaughter, said that a Social Security caregiver credit would make a critical difference for her in retirement.
“I would like to see the caregiver credit act passed for people like me who have left the workforce for a loved one,” said Brown. “It is very important to all of us caregivers to be given this opportunity to have some dignity when it is finally our time to retire.”
Center for Community Change Action and our field partners across the country have been fighting to expand, not cut retirement security benefits. This new bill does just that.
Our fight to expand retirement security benefits will not happen overnight. It will happen one bill at a time and one vote at a time. This bill is a huge step toward addressing economic inequalities in our workforce and in retirement security. Learn more about the Caregiver Credit Act here.