Several million people in the U.S. provide care for elderly people still living in their homes. Many caregivers give up their outside work or reduce their hours in order to provide care. The financial implications of giving up paid work can add significantly to the burden of a caregiver. She may be entitled to Social Security benefits, depending on her and her spouse's employment and tax history, but there is no Social Security credit for unpaid work.
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If an elderly caregiver has been in paid employment for at least 10 years, or has been self-employed and paid taxes for this period, she will be eligible for retirement benefits at the age of 62. This is the case even if she has worked part-time for low wages. If a caregiver's spouse has been employed for at least 10 years, she will be eligible for dependent's benefit.
The elderly caregiver, if he had to retire from paid employment before retirement age because of disability, will be entitled to disability benefits. If the caregiver is the spouse of a person who is in receipt of disability benefit, he will be entitled to dependent's benefits at the age of 62.
If the caregiver had a spouse, now deceased, who was in paid employment for 10 years, or was self-employed and paid taxes, she will be entitled to survivor's benefits at the age of 60. A caregiver who is entitled to two pensions can only collect the higher of them.