Assistant Professor of Public Affairs and Sociology, La Follette School of Public Affairs, University of Wisconsin
Social Security provides benefits for spouses and widowed spouses, but does not provide credit for raising children. A growing portion of retiring women will not qualify for spousal benefits because they are divorced (with less than 10 years of marriage) or never married, yet will have earnings records that are limited because of time spent caring for their children. Crediting Care in Social Security: A Proposal for an Income-Tested Care Supplement proposes to supplement Social Security benefits for retirees who have raised one or more children. The supplement would be an additional 75 percent of the worker’s benefit (80 percent if two or more children were raised) but would be capped to not push the retiree’s household income above 125 percent of the poverty threshold. The benefit and income testing would be administered through individual tax returns, similar to the Earned Income Tax Credit.