Modernizing Social Security: Caregiver Credits

IB#18-15

The brief’s key findings are:

  • Traditionally, Social Security has supported family caregivers – typically women – through a spousal benefit.
  • Today, however, many women are not eligible for this benefit because they are not married or they qualify for their own worker’s benefit.
  • As a result, many mothers receive little to no support to offset lost earnings due to childrearing responsibilities.
  • In response, some propose caregiver credits to boost Social Security earnings, a common provision in other developed countries.
  • These credits could be offset by reducing benefits somewhat for higher earners.