Like Countable?

Install the App
TRY NOW

Using Social Security Retirement Benefits To Cover Maternity Leave

by Countable | 2.21.18

What’s the story?

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, if you take leave following the birth of a child, your employer is not required to pay you. The White House is working to find a path forward to get that leave paid for everyone. Currently there are dueling proposals. The conservative proposal is a particularly complicated one.

It would allow individuals to draw against their Social Security retirement benefits to cover partial wages during parental leave. Their retirement benefit would then be shortened by the equal number of weeks.

The proposal is supported by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), and was formulated by the conservative Independent Women Foundation (IWF).

Proponents highlight that the program would be funded without any need to raise taxes. There would not be any need to create or administer a new program. The shortening of benefits upon retirement would be limited, and being able to draw benefits may help women stay in the workforce long term.

However, leaders of the IWF are upfront about hoping that it will be the first step in having Americans relate to Social Security as an individual account, like privately-held retirement accounts such as 401(k)s.

If individuals approach Social Security like privately-held benefits, it could be the first step to privatizing the whole Social Security system, an idea that conservatives have pursued for years.

Kathleen Romig, senior policy analyst at the liberal-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, offered to the New York Times, "This is a significant philosophy shift that doesn’t look at it like an insurance program where we are all in it together, but an individual asset you can tap to pay for your individual needs."

What do you think?

Do you support this proposal? Do you think the benefits outweigh the risks? If it were the first step in privatizing Social Security, is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Max Pixel / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

Leave a comment
(99)
  • Donna
    02/21/2018
    ···

    Very few Americans can live on Social Security benefits today. By the time these young parents retire, the possibility of doing so will only be less likely. Somewhere over the past thirty years, our corporate culture has become so poisoned against humanity it is ridiculous. I had my first child over 28 years ago. I was working full time in the tech field and received 12 weeks PAID maternity leave (4 weeks before my daughter was born and 8 weeks after). All medical bills were paid through my insurance, which was provided by my employer at absolutely no cost. Less than two years later, I gave birth to my second child. I got 6 weeks maternity leave - all unpaid and from the day of delivery. I was at work at 5pm one night and in a hospital at 6am the next morning. My hospital, doctor, well-baby care, etc. was 80% covered by the insurance my employer provided through payroll deductions. I was forced to go back to work after my 6 week leave was up because I could not afford to stay home with no pay. This still makes no sense to me. My kids are less than 24 months apart. How is it our corporate culture could change so quickly for the profitability of the company but the detriment of the employee? Instead of screwing a family's future income by forcing them to tap into social security payments, why can't our lawmakers put pressure on the corporations to which they just handed a huge cash windfall? This is not a problem the government should have to solve through taxpayer money. There was a time in my life when corporations were good public citizens. Maybe government should have required some cultural change before handing them their Christmas present. Companies used to care about their employees and as a result, the employees cared about the company for which they worked. Now, everything is about money and loyalty and humanity have been thrown out the window. What a sad commentary for our society.

    Like (47)
    Follow
    Share
  • Pru
    02/21/2018
    ···

    This does not make sense. Social security is for retirement!!!

    Like (39)
    Follow
    Share
  • Joanne
    02/22/2018
    ···

    NO, Social Security is for retirement. How about Medicare for all???

    Like (34)
    Follow
    Share
  • Sheryl
    02/22/2018
    ···

    Few people realize that the SSA Retirement fund has been so flush with money that congress has reached into the pot and taken multiple withdrawals to keep the disability program afloat. Retirement savings should be kept in its own fund and only used for retirement withdrawals- nothing else.

    Like (27)
    Follow
    Share
  • Kyle
    02/21/2018
    ···

    Stop raiding Social Security. It’s already projected to have a shortfall around 2033.

    Like (25)
    Follow
    Share
  • John
    02/21/2018
    ···

    No! Put a new parent paid leave in place for both parents. There is plenty of money available from the bloated military budget and from 45’s “wall”. Let’s spend on the important things.

    Like (24)
    Follow
    Share
  • jayar
    02/21/2018
    ···

    Social Security is an earned entitlement for working not for procreating.

    Like (24)
    Follow
    Share
  • Niki
    02/21/2018
    ···

    Simply NO. Social Security should not be used for any other purpose

    Like (21)
    Follow
    Share
  • Countryfirst
    02/22/2018
    ···

    Social security is for retirement not during employment..leave my social security and Medicare ALONE..I WORKED FOR MY BENEFITS MY ENTIRE ADULT LIFE!!!

    Like (21)
    Follow
    Share
  • Hillary
    02/22/2018
    ···

    Social security was designed to keep elderly people who become too old to work from dying of starvation in the streets. Social security is an earned benefit for those who have worked for decades. Paid maternity leave is for young people and should be paid by the employer. It is a benefit of employment not retirement.

    Like (21)
    Follow
    Share
  • Linda
    02/21/2018
    ···

    And what is the plan for when parents must retire and they have even less income than the little provided now by Social Security? Who will pay for them to live? This government must recognize a responsibility to its taxpayers. Protecting us from foreign enemies is the first obligation of our federal government. But if we are too sick or penniless to care for ourselves — despite a life of hard work — what good does national defense do us? Perhaps instead of allowing use of retirement funds to pay for parental leave, we should build fewer bombers and use that money to assist parents in raising good citizens.

    Like (14)
    Follow
    Share
  • Abby
    02/21/2018
    ···

    Using your social security is not paid leave!

    Like (14)
    Follow
    Share
  • Jennifer
    02/21/2018
    ···

    No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No.

    Like (13)
    Follow
    Share
  • Mark
    02/21/2018
    ···

    WTF? I thought saving for the future was what we’re supposed to do. But, now, we’re supposed to just live for today? 🤷🏽‍♂️

    Like (13)
    Follow
    Share
  • Afina
    02/21/2018
    ···

    No, these parents need relief now, and should not have to borrow against their retirement. Parental leave should be standard

    Like (11)
    Follow
    Share
  • SouthernGal
    02/22/2018
    ···

    This is one of the more stupid ideas the trump administration has come up with. The rest of the industrialized world has parental maternity leave. We should too and not be paying for it 40 years later from our Social security.

    Like (11)
    Follow
    Share
  • Jesse
    02/21/2018
    ···

    No don,t support this

    Like (10)
    Follow
    Share
  • Lisa
    02/22/2018
    ···

    Are you kidding me. Corporations need to pay maternity leave as a benefit. With the tax scam passing they will have plenty of money to pay those benefits ✌️

    Like (9)
    Follow
    Share
  • Richard
    02/22/2018
    ···

    No way! These Republican Senators are Walking on thin voter ice. They will lose votes from their constituents with this bonehead moved. LEAVE SOCIAL SECURITY ALONE!!!

    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share
  • Catherine
    02/21/2018
    ···

    The US is already so far behind in providing healthcare benefits, maternity leave, and even support for families when children are sick! This is a dumb idea put forth by the republicans as usual. Social security barely covers so many who really need it! No!

    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share