Caregivers Age 50+ Who Leave The Workforce Lose An Average Of $304,000 In Wages, Private Pensions, and Social Security;
2.2 Million Family Caregivers Across New York Provide $39 Billion Worth Of Care Every Year
Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Aging Committee, held a video press conference to announce the reintroduction of the Social Security Caregiver Credit Act, legislation that would provide Social Security credits to caregivers. Millions of Americans leave the workforce to become unpaid caregivers for sick, disabled, or elderly loved ones; Gillibrand’s legislation would make sure that their retirement is not threatened as a result.
“Families should never be forced to choose between caring for a loved one and ensuring the security of their retirement,” said Senator Gillibrand. “We cannot continue to penalize workers who take time out of the workforce to take care of a sick child, an ailing grandparent, or a disabled spouse by denying them Social Security credits during that period. The Social Security Caregiver Credit Act would recognize caregiving for what it is – work – and allow caregivers to continue to build toward their retirement. I’m proud to be introducing this bill and look forward to getting it passed.”
Social Security credits are “units” the Social Security Administration uses to determine whether an individual has qualified for retirement, disability, and other benefits. In 2023, a worker must earn $1,640 to earn one Social Security credit and $6,560 to earn the maximum of four credits per year, and they need 40 credits total to qualify for retirement benefits. Unpaid caregivers who leave the workforce or substantially reduce their hours earn fewer or no Social Security credits. As a result, they are at risk of not qualifying for benefits, putting their retirement security in jeopardy.
The Social Security Caregiver Credit Act would provide retirement credits to unpaid caregivers who spend at least 80 hours a month providing care to a dependent relative under the age of 12 or to a chronically dependent individual. A chronically dependent individual is a person who cannot perform basic activities without the help of a caregiver.
The full text of the legislation can be found here.