November is National Caregiver Month. Caregiving is especially important to women because they disproportionately provide and receive caregiving. It is estimated that 60 percent of all caregivers are women and 65 percent of all care recipients are women.
The National Committee strongly believes that the services provided by caregivers should be acknowledged for the work that it is. As anyone who has ever cared for someone knows, it is about the hardest job anyone ever has to do.
- On average, caregivers of adults spend 4 years caregiving for a family member.
- On average, caregivers spend 24.4 hours a week providing care to their loved one.
- Nearly a quarter of caregivers provide 41 or more hours of care a week.
The higher likelihood of caregiving is one factor contributing to women’s reduced income security in retirement. Women’s lifetime earnings are generally lower than those of men. They get paid less on average than men. Additionally, women are less likely than men to have an employer-provided pension. On top of this, many women are penalized for time off for caregiving in the form of reduced Social Security benefits.
This is why the National Committee has endorsed H.R. 3377, the Social Security Caregiver Credit Act, introduced by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY-17). For purposes of calculating an individual’s Social Security benefit, the Caregiver Credit Act would bridge the gap in earned income credits by taking into account the unpaid caregiving provided to certain family members for at least 80 hours a month.
The National Committee also supports the reauthorization of the Older American’s Act, which in addition to providing the primary source of funding for meal programs for seniors also provides resources for caregivers including counseling and respite care.
Eleanor’s Hope encourages all caregivers to contact their members of Congress and ask them to support the Social Security Caregiver Credit Act and the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act.