New Polling Shows Overwhelming Support for Adding a Caregiver Credit to Social Security
Poll shows that 68% of Americans favor counting caregiving for small children, chronically disabled relatives, and aging family members towards Social Security benefit calculations
(Washington, DC) — Social Security Works and the Center for Community Change Action today held a telephone briefing to release new polling data from Lake Research Partners that shows strong support for expanding Social Security by providing an earnings credit towards future Social Security benefits for individuals who spend time out of the paid workforce caring for a family member.
The Social Security Caregiver Credit Act, sponsored by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), would institute a credit so that caregiving hours would be included in calculating an individual’s Social Security benefit. Anyone who spends at least 80 hours a month caring for family members, including children under the age of 12, a senior in need of intensive care or a chronically disabled relative, would be eligible to claim the credit, for up to five years.
“More than two thirds of every demographic, political, and geographic group supported this proposal. 71% of women and 63% of men favor it,” Pollster Celinda Lake said on the call. “Social Security is an issue that can strongly drive support in the November elections. This is an older electorate. It is also an electorate that is very engaged with Social Security. While there may be very little bipartisanship in Washington, there’s great bipartisanship in real America on [this proposal].”
Jeannie Brown of Belgrade Montana, who left the workforce to care for her chronically disabled granddaughter, said that a Social Security caregiver credit would make a critical difference for her in retirement.
“I would like to see the caregiver credit act passed for people like me who have left the workforce for a loved one,” said Brown. “It is very important to all of us caregivers to be given this opportunity to have some dignity when it is finally our time to retire.”
“The injustice that causes women to be paid unfairly low wages during their working life follows them right into the Social Security system,” said Terry O’Neill, President of the National Organization for Women. “The system looks at 35 years’ worth of earnings, but on average women are in the paid work force for just about 28 years, not 35 years.”
“We hope that Congress hears the views of the American people and acts quickly to enact this legislation,” said Allegra Baider of the Center for Community Change Action.