Walorski, Pappas Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Help Caregivers Save for Retirement

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Walorski, Pappas Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Help Caregivers Save for Retirement

Expanding Access to Retirement Savings for Caregivers Act Would Allow Family Caregivers Returning to Work to Start Catch-Up Contributions Sooner

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – U.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) and Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) today announced the reintroduction of the Expanding Access to Retirement Savings for Caregivers Act. The bipartisan bill would allow individuals who took at least one year out of the workforce for the purpose of caring for a family member to begin catch-up contributions to their eligible retirement accounts in years prior to age 50.

“Taking time away from work to care for a loved one often results in missed opportunities for hardworking Americans – especially women – to save for retirement,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “These caregivers should not be penalized for putting their families first. This bipartisan bill would ensure these caregivers have access to critical retirement savings tools by allowing them to start catch-up contributions to their retirement accounts sooner.”

“Those who leave the workforce to provide care for a loved one should not be short-changed on their retirement and forced to do more with less later in life,” Congressman Pappas said. “This bipartisan legislation will help level the playing field so caregivers can begin making catch-up payments to their 401Ks, IRAs, and other accounts sooner and not lose out on valuable retirement savings as a result of the time they took to help a family member in need.”

“People who take time out of the workforce to care for family members help not only their own immediate families but their communities and our country,” said Hadley Heath Manning, Director of Policy, Independent Women’s Voice. “IWV supports legislation that recognizes their sacrifices and gives them the opportunity to make up for lost time by expanding their eligibility to make catch-up contributions for retirement accounts. Independent Women’s Voice is proud to support The Expanding Access to Retirement Savings for Caregivers Act sponsored by Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) and Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH).”

BACKGROUND

Under current law, employees aged 50 and older are eligible to utilize catch-up contributions to make additional deposits to their 401(k) plans, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), and other eligible retirement accounts.

Although catch-up contributions can be an important mechanism for many Americans to expand their retirement savings, they are often insufficient for individuals who take time out of the workforce to care for family members and miss opportunities to save for retirement for multiple years. This disparity predominantly impacts women, who are more likely to take more time to act as full-time family caregivers.

H.R. 3644, the Expanding Access to Retirement Savings for Family Caregivers Act, would remedy this element of the retirement system that penalizes caregivers by allowing individuals who took at least one year out of the workforce without receiving earned income, primarily for the purpose of caring for a family member, to make catch-up contributions to eligible retirement accounts sooner. These former caregivers would be eligible to begin making catch-up contributions at age 50 minus the number of years they spent out of the workforce.

Read the full text of the legislation here.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Ranking Member of the House Ethics Committee.

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