WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, and U.S. Representative Brad Schneider (D-Ill.-10) on Wednesday reintroduced legislation that would allow caregivers to receive a Social Security credit. The Social Security Caregiver Credit Act would provide retirement compensation in the form of Social Security credits to individuals who leave the workforce to care for their loved ones. U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) also co-sponsored the legislation

More than 1 in 5 Americans are currently caring for loved ones who are ill, disabled, or elderly, and 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. According to recent research from AARP, there are more than 420,000 caregivers in Connecticut providing $7.2 billion in unpaid care to loved ones.

“Caregivers shouldn’t be docked their Social Security benefits because they step away from the workforce to care for a loved one. Caregiving is work, and it’s time we start treating it that way. This legislation would ensure that the selfless decision to care for a family member no longer jeopardizes if and when you can retire,” said Murphy.

“We’ve seen more and more workers have to make the impossible choice between receiving Social Security or caring for their loved ones,” said Schneider. “Americans who make the selfless decision to leave the workforce to care for their family or friends should not be financially penalized. This commonsense legislation will finally recognize caregiving as work and reduce financial hardship for American families.” 

You can read more about the Social Security Caregiver Credit Act here.