A worker’s Social Security benefits are based on her or his lifetime earnings. Actual earnings are adjusted (or “indexed”) to account for changes in average wages since the year the earnings were received. The Social Security Administration calculates the average indexed monthly earnings during the 35 years in which the worker earned the most. If she or he has fewer than 35 years of earnings, then years of zero earnings are included among the 35 averaged years, which brings down her or his lifetime average. A lower average means a lower benefit level.
The caregiver credit option is a responsible preventive measure—it would provide improved retirement security for millions of Americans–especially women, whom the caregiver role often falls upon–and recognize the valuable caregiving services that they provide for our country’s children and the growing elderly population.
Learn more about the Social Security Caregiver Credit Act here.