Majority Press

Casey Holds Aging Committee Hearing on Retirement Security

Casey highlights how Better Care Better Jobs Act will allow caregivers to save more for retirement

Washington, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, held a hearing entitled “A Financially Secure Future: Building a Stronger Retirement System for All Americans.” The hearing examined solutions to close retirement gaps and expand financial security for hard-working Americans. The committee heard from witnesses who spoke to the effects that career disruptions can have on retirement security, especially for workers who must become family caregivers or take time off to deal with health-related issues.

“All of us hope that when we reach old age, we will be able to enjoy retirement on our own terms. But the reality is that despite working hard their whole lives, too many seniors are barely able to make ends meet. Our retirement system allows millions of Americans to fall through the cracks,” said Chairman Casey. “We have to protect and strengthen Social Security, the bedrock of our retirement system. We must also support the family caregivers, mostly women, who leave the workplace, undermining their ability to save and plan for the future. That’s why my Better Care Better Jobs Act is critical—it will not only raise wages for home care workers, but allow them to save more for retirement. It would give family caregivers options, so that they don’t have to leave their jobs and can continue to contribute to their retirement plans. I will continue to work to help American families build economic security in their working lives and into their retirement.”

In addition to highlighting gaps in our Nation’s retirement system, the hearing examined ways to improve upon the bipartisan Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act. The Act, which was supported by Senator Casey and signed into law on December 2019, took steps to expand financial and retirement security, including increasing the start-up credit for small employer retirement plans, repealing the maximum age for traditional IRA contributions and establishing provisions to better cover long-term part-time employees.

Alongside other witnesses, Dr. Nari Rhee, Director of the Retirement Security Program at the University of California at Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, testified about the disproportionate disparity in retirement security amongst home care workers, especially women and workers of color. “Work-based retirement wealth accumulation poses special challenges for women, given their disproportionate responsibility for unpaid caregiving... In addition to the gender pay gap, many women find themselves having to withdraw from the labor force or reducing paid work hours in order to care for children or aging parents, which results in interrupted or truncated careers … [and] an aging population means an increased aggregate need for caregiving that falls on women’s shoulders. This not only results in foregone pay, but a lasting pay penalty, resulting in a significant cumulative reduction in potential lifetime earnings,” said Dr. Rhee.

Read more about the Better Care Better Jobs Act here.