Last week, U.S. Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Reps. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) and Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.) introduced the bipartisan Credit for Caring Act (S. 1151/H.R. 2505) and AARP endorsed the legislation. The bill would help support America’s family caregivers by offering a federal tax credit for those who qualify.
“One of the biggest stresses of being a family caregiver is the financial strain from taking care of a loved one. As a result, this puts many of us into financial peril,” said Amy Goyer, AARP’s family and caregiving expert and a family caregiver herself.
Like many family caregivers, Amy takes on huge responsibilities that can be overwhelming, exhausting — and frequently financially challenging.
Much of Amy’s salary goes to caring for her 93-year-old dad, who has Alzheimer’s. She takes care of everything from mortgage payments to medications. In addition to their basic needs, Amy is also responsible for keeping her father’s service dog, Jackson, healthy; sometimes she pays a person to keep their home clean, and she hires in-home care to help her father when she travels.
Last year, family caregivers spent roughly $7,000 on average — or nearly 20 percent of their income — on out-of-pocket costs providing care for their loved ones. And on average, long-distance family caregivers spend nearly $12,000 last year to care for their loved ones.
On top of the out-of-pocket costs associated with caregiving, some family caregivers work part time or quit their jobs altogether to care for their loved ones. Family caregivers are also dipping into their personal savings, cutting back on their personal spending, and saving less for their own retirement to care for others.
“The Credit for Caring Act could help provide some financial relief to reduce the caregiving costs for millions of eligible family caregivers across the country who work,” Amy says.
To qualify for the Credit for Caring Act, a taxpayer would have to be an eligible family caregiver who pays or incurs qualified expenses for providing care to a spouse, child, parent or other qualified individual with long-term care needs and also earn an annual income of more than $7,500.
For more information on AARP’s advocacy to support family caregivers, visit www.aarp.org/supportcaregivers.