As More Women Opt Out Of The Workforce, Caregiver Credits Could Help

Aug 2, 2021

Covid-19 prompted many women to leave the workforce.

That’s because many women were forced to choose between working and taking care of their children and families amid a pandemic often opted for the latter.

The difference in earnings and career prospects can be seen immediately. And it could also have implications for women’s retirement security.

One consolation, according to a report from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, is that income from Social Security in retirement may help bridge the income gap between mothers and childless women.

One way to help women, who tend to be more likely to take time out of the workforce to care for children or other people, would be to offer so-called caregiver credits.

That way, instead of taking the top 35 years of earnings to calculate a Social Security benefit, certain years where income is low or zero could be disregarded. The benefit calculation may be based on only the top 30 years, for example.

Notably, President Joe Biden’s campaign plans for Social Security reform included caregiver credits. A bill called the Social Security Caregiver Credit Act has also been proposed to address the issue.

That bill was reintroduced in May by Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Reps. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., and Grace Meng, D-N.Y.

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