Senator Marco Rubio Proposes Eroding Social Security Benefit by Allowing it to be Used for Family Leave

the following information was prepared by the New York State Alliance for Retired Americans

Sen. Marco Rubio (FL) will introduce legislation that would supposedly create national paid parental leave, but in fact would mean cuts in future earned Social Security benefits. While the United States is the only developed nation that does not offer paid leave, Sen. Rubio’s plan forces families to choose between caring for a new child and risking their financial security in retirement.

The proposal would allow parents of newborns or newly adopted children to take twelve weeks from their Social Security benefits early, later reducing or delaying that person’s benefits at retirement age to make up the difference. Retirees would have to delay their Social Security benefits by approximately twenty five weeks per each paid leave, more than twice as long as the initial time off.

Carrie Lukas of the Koch brothers’ funded group Independent Women’s Forum developed the plan on which Rubio’s bill is modeled. Lukas specifically said that the plan will speed the privatization of Social Security by changing public perception of the system from a social  insurance program to a system of personal accounts — and make it easier to raise the retirement age. She wrote, “Once people become used to the ideal of people opting to push back their retirement age, it may become less difficult to gradually raise the normal retirement age to reflect increases in longevity.”

The legislation would also harm the long-term financial outlook for Social Security. A recent study by the right-leaning American Action Forum found that Rubio’s legislation would cause the program to face a shortfall at least least six months sooner than it otherwise would.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) has introduced broader legislation granting paid leave to new parents and workers taking time off to care for a sick family member. Sen. Gillibrand’s proposal would have both workers and employers pay into a newly created fund that reaches every worker regardless of their job or industry.

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I have been a senior advocate for most of my career. I was Executive Director of the New York StateWide Senior Action Council and the New York State Alliance for Retired Americans. In 2007-2010 I was the Director of the New York State Office for the Aging

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