Crediting care or marriage? Reforming Social Security family benefits.

TitleCrediting care or marriage? Reforming Social Security family benefits.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsHerd, P
JournalJ Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci
Date Published2006 Jan
ISSN Number1079-5014
Call Numberpubs_2006_HerdJoG.pdf
KeywordsFamily, Female, Humans, Insurance Benefits, Marital Status, Mothers, Social Security, United States

OBJECTIVE: For more than 20 years policy advocates and policymakers have argued that Social Security should reward women for raising children. Current family benefits, which only benefit women who marry, are thought to be outdated and unable to protect the neediest women. Thus, would Black and poor women fare better if family benefits were linked to parenthood, as opposed to marriage? I examined three care credit proposals that reflect the most common proposals put forth in the United States and the most common designs in other countries.

METHODS: I used the 1992 Health and Retirement Study and the Current Population Survey to create a policy simulation that estimates how women reaching age 62 from 2020 to 2030 would be affected by care credits.

RESULT: Black and poor women fared best with benefits linked to parenthood. The specific proposal allowed parents, from the 35 earnings years used to calculate their benefit, to substitute $15,000 for up to 9 earnings' years that fell below this level.

DISCUSSION: The poorest women fare better with family benefits linked to parenthood instead of marital status. Moreover, they fare best when working women can benefit from care credits, but the care credit's value is not linked to earnings.

User Guide Notes

Endnote Keywords

Social Security/Marriage/Parent/Women

Endnote ID


Alternate JournalJ Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci
Citation Key7064
PubMed ID16399946