Caregiver Credits in France, Germany, and Sweden: Lessons for the United States

Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 71, No. 4, pp. 61-76, 2011

16 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2011 Last revised: 25 Apr 2015

See all articles by John Jankowski

John Jankowski

Government of the United States of America - Social Security Administration

Date Written: November 1, 2011

Abstract

Recently, analysts in the United States (US) have proposed adopting caregiver credits, or pension credits, provided to individuals for time spent out of the workforce while caring for dependent children and sick or elderly relatives. The primary objective of these credits, used in almost all public pension systems in the European Union, is to improve the adequacy of old-age benefits for women whose gaps in workforce participation typically lead to fewer years of contributions, lower lifetime average earnings, and consequently lower pensions. This article examines caregiver credits in the context of future reforms to the US Social Security system, with attention given to the adequacy of current spouse and survivor benefits and how changing marital patterns and family structures have increased the risk of old-age poverty among certain groups of women. It then analyzes caregiver credit programs in selected countries, with particular focus on design, administration, and cost.

Keywords: old age, old-age assistance, pension, public pension, retirement, retirement pension, social security

JEL Classification: H55

Suggested Citation

Jankowski, John, Caregiver Credits in France, Germany, and Sweden: Lessons for the United States (November 1, 2011). Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 71, No. 4, pp. 61-76, 2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1953605

Wanda L. Sivak (Contact Author)

Government of the United States of America - Office of Research, Evaluation and Statistics ( email )

Washington, DC
United States

Social Security Administration, Office of Research, Evaluation, and Statistics ( email )

Washington, DC
United States

John Jankowski

Government of the United States of America - Social Security Administration ( email )

Washington, DC 20254
United States

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