Wake Up Washington: Older Women and Economic Security

Imagine living your whole life working just to pay the bills – not saving for your future, but simply paying for the present. You work as much as you can, but also decide to have a family and need to take time off work. Before you know it, you are 65 and it is time to retire. This would be an exciting time in your life, except you don’t have any savings. Thankfully, you have Social Security. You start receiving your benefits, but then you realize it’s not enough to get by. Now what do you do?

Some of you might not have to imagine this scenario; you’re living it or know someone who is. The fact is that women across the country who take time out of the workforce to raise children or care for an elder relative receive fewer wages in the long run and, therefore, less Social Security benefits in retirement. The sacrifices women make truly shape their retirement security. According to WOW’s Elder Index, the average Social Security benefit for women is $12,526 compared with $16,572 for men.

 

Wake up, Washington! Women are struggling to make ends meet in retirement and should not be penalized for taking care of their families. The Social Security Caregiver Credit Act(H.R. 769) is a step in the right direction. The Act would give full-time caregivers Social Security credits for up to five years out of the workforce. Passing the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 1338) also is a step in the right direction to ensure women receive equal pay for equal work.

It’s time for action, let’s get to work and make sure that women get equal pay and, therefore, an equal retirement!

This blog was written by Alisha Howell of Wider Opportunities for Women and is cross-posted on both the National Elder Economic Security Initiative blog and the Daily Kos.

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