WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan joined Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in introducing the Social Security Caregiver Credit Act – legislation that will create a Social Security Caregiver credit and provide modest retirement compensation to individuals who have had to leave the workforce or reduce their hours to care for a loved one. The bill will also authorize funds to provide medical training to family caregivers.
Tens of millions of Americans leave the workforce entirely or reduce their hours significantly to care for loved ones at some point in their career. Studies indicate that, on average, income losses due to caregiving total more than $300,000, threatening retirement security. Women, who make up two-thirds of unpaid caregivers, are disproportionately impacted.
“Granite Staters who exit the workforce to care for a loved one often sacrifice years of retirement savings and Social Security contributions, putting them at a disadvantage that can cause them to struggle financially later in life,” said Senator Hassan. “These caregivers should be provided modest retirement compensation for their work, which is essential to the health and well-being of our people and our communities. I’m proud to join Senators Murphy and Sanders in cosponsoring the Social Security Caregiver Credit Act to help ensure these individuals have a secure retirement.”
The Social Security Caregiver Credit Act will create a credit that would be added to an individual’s earnings to calculate their future Social Security benefits. In order to qualify, caregivers must provide care for a minimum of 80 hours per month to a parent, spouse, domestic partner, sibling, child, grandparent, aunt, or uncle who cannot perform daily living activities without assistance. The credit, which individuals can claim for up to 60 months, is progressive and would vary on an income-based sliding scale. A caregiver’s Social Security credit will decrease in value as the caregiver earns closer to the average national wage. The credit will phase out when the caregiver earns more than the average nation wage. Individuals who do not earn an income will receive a maximum credit equal to half of the average national wage.
The Social Security Caregiver Credit Act has been endorsed by the following organizations: The National Council on Aging, The National Organization for Women, The National Alliance for Caregiving, The Sibling Leadership Network, The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, Social Security Works, Autism Speaks, Latinos for a Secure Retirement, Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action, The Arc of the United States, and Washington State Senior Citizens’ Lobby.