Q: “I am fifty years old and the 27 years I have been working have been a combination of full-time and part-time employment, with several years of no employment so that I could stay home with my baby. I am back to work full-time now but want to know how all of this will affect my Social Security benefit when I am retired?”

A:  When you reach the eligibility age for Social Security benefits, which for most people is 62, your monthly benefit will be determined based on your 35 highest years of earnings.  If there are years in which you had no earnings, your benefit will be lower than it otherwise would be.  This illustrates the inequity that women confront when they leave the workforce to provide care to children or other family members.  Oftentimes, a consequence of caregiving is a permanent reduction in Social Security benefits.

That’s why the National Committee supports providing credits to caregivers who take time out of the workforce to care for vulnerable family members.  Provision of up to five years of “imputed” Social Security credits for caring for young children or other family members is one of the many initiatives supported by the National Committee to improve Social Security retirement income for women.