U.S. Representatives Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) and Harley Rouda (D-Calif.) this week introduced H.R. 3078, the Expanding Access to Retirement Savings for Caregivers Act. The bill would allow individuals that took at least one year out of the workforce without receiving an earned income, for the purposes of caring for a family member, to make catch-up contributions in years prior to age 50 to their 401(k) plans, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), and other eligible retirement accounts.
“Hardworking Americans who take time away from the workforce to care for a loved one often face difficulties saving enough for retirement,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “Women in the workforce are especially at risk because they are more likely to put their jobs on hold to become full-time family caregivers. This bipartisan bill will help them set aside the retirement savings they need once they return to work by allowing them to start catch-up contributions to their retirement accounts sooner.”
“As it stands, our retirement system penalizes those who leave the work force to put their family first, particularly women,” Rouda said. “This bill corrects that flaw and, by empowering families with new retirement options, makes coping with family challenges just a little easier. In Washington, partisan clamoring gets a lot of attention, but I’m proud Congresswoman Walorski and I came together to offer this bipartisan solution. I urge the President and my colleagues in Congress to quickly make this remedy law.”
“IRI strongly supports the passage of the measure introduced today by Representatives Harley Rouda (D-CA) and Jackie Walorski (R-IN) to allow Americans to make catch-up contributions to a retirement account for the number of years they left the workforce to care for a dependent,” said Wayne Chopus, President and CEO of the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI). “Allowing these caregivers the opportunity to make catch-up contributions to retirement accounts will help these Americans who have cared for their family members in a time of need to save more so they can retire with financial security and dignity.”
Under current law, only 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 using catch-up contributions can be an important mechanism for many Americans to expand their retirement savings, it can still not be enough for individuals that take time out of the workforce to care for family members. These individuals often miss opportunities to save for their retirement for multiple years. This disparity predominantly impacts women, since women are more likely to take more time to act as family caregivers full-time.
The Expanding Access to Retirement Savings for Family Caregivers Act would remedy this element of the retirement system that penalizes caregivers, and introduce new tools for them to contribute to their retirement savings.
Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.