According to Salary.com, stay-at-home moms work an average of 94 hours per week for a total estimated “mom salary” of $113,586 a year. It makes sense if you consider that our mothers are often the family’s CEO, driver, cook, psychologist, housekeeper and primary caregiver. This survey provides a lighthearted, unscientific look at an issue with real economic and policy implications for current and future generations of retirees. For example, what happens to the millions of American women who worked in the home (not in a traditional job) when they retire? How about those women who quit jobs to become full-time caregivers for a parent or older family member? Unfortunately, far too many women face economic insecurity in their retirement. The poverty rate for senior women and widows is 50% higher than other retirees 65 and older, yet even as we celebrate this Mother’s Day, this benefit inequity is largely ignored and millions of American mothers, grandmothers, and widows pay the price.
The NCPSSM Foundation, working with the National Organization for Women Foundation and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, has examined the challenges facing America’s elderly women and their families and offered several forward-thinking proposals to modernize benefits. The culmination of our research is a report called “Breaking the Social Security Glass Ceiling.”
Some highlights of our proposals include:
• Improving Survivor Benefits. Women living alone often are forced into poverty because of benefit reductions stemming from the death of a spouse. Providing a widow or widower with 75 percent of the couple’s combined benefit treats one-earner and two-earner couples more fairly and reduces the likelihood of leaving the survivor in poverty.
• Providing Social Security Credits for Caregivers. We recommend imputed earnings for up to five family service years be granted to a worker who leaves or reduces his/her participation in the work force to provide care to children under the age of six or to elderly family members.
This Mother’s Day the National Committee would like to suggest a gift of economic security for our moms. Of course, this isn’t something you can wrap with a bow but it’s something we should all demand that Congress immediately address for current and future generations of American women.
The National Committee, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization acts in the interests of its membership through advocacy, education, services, grassroots efforts and the leadership of the Board of Directors and professional staff. The work of the National Committee is directed toward developing better-informed citizens and voters.