A recently introduced bill in Congress aims to increase Social Security benefits for workers who take time off to serve as caregivers.
Currently, Social Security benefits are calculated based on the number of credits that beneficiaries accumulate during their time in the workforce.
Under the Social Security Caregiver Credit Act, introduced March 17, people who reduce their hours or quit their jobs to care for elderly family members and family members with disabilities would continue to accumulate credits with Social Security.
“People who care for loved ones deserve our gratitude. Penalizing caregivers by docking the Social Security benefits they count on is backwards,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who is sponsoring the bill with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), said in a news release. “I’m introducing the Social Security Caregiver Credit Act because Washington should support those who support their families.”
To be eligible, beneficiaries would have to be providing 80 hours per month of unpaid assistance. The credit would be based on a sliding scale, up to a maximum credit equal to half of the average national wage.
Caregivers would be able to accumulate credits as caregivers for up to five years.
Rep. Nita Lowery (D-N.Y.) has introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives.
“The Arc applauds Senator Murphy for introducing this much-needed bill to ensure that Americans who reduce their employment to care for a family member with a disability won’t as a result face severe cuts in their own Social Security benefits,” said Marty Ford, a senior executive officer with The Arc, in the news release. “These family members are contributing to their families and their communities in way that should be recognized when it comes to their future financial stability.”