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Maryland Governor Signs Bill to Provide Grants to Family Caregivers

Mixed race mother and daughter walk and talk together outside
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En español | An AARP-backed law signed by Gov. Wes Moore April 25 will create a new state program to bring financial relief to Marylanders who care for a loved one.

The law, which takes effect July 1, creates the Caregiver Expense Grant Program under the state Department of Aging. It allows eligible caregivers to apply for grants of up to $2,500 a year to cover expenses related to caring for someone 60 or older.

The law is a major victory for AARP Maryland, which has long fought for legislation to offset the cost of caregiving. AARP led a coalition of more than 20 organizations that testified and lobbied legislators in support of the new law, said Tammy Bresnahan, AARP Maryland’s senior advocacy director.

“Today’s family caregivers come from every age, racial and socioeconomic group, and include both men and women,” Bresnahan said in a statement. Many caregivers carry out their duties while managing their own lives and jobs, she added, noting that others “must give up their employment and only source of income” to meet caregiving demands.

An AARP study released last year found about 760,000 family caregivers in Maryland collectively provide more than $12 billion worth of unpaid care each year. An earlier AARP study found the average family caregiver in the U.S. spends roughly $7,200 out of pocket each year on caregiving.

Under Maryland’s new law, caregivers earning up to $75,000 annually (or $150,000 for married couples) can apply for grants to cover up to 30 percent of any qualifying caregiving expenses that exceed $2,000 a year. Eligible expenses include any goods and services directly related to a loved one’s care, such as home modifications, home health care aides, adult day care or specialized transportation.

Maryland is the latest state to heed AARP’s call to address the financial challenges often experienced by family caregivers. Last week, Nebraska became the second state in the country to pass an expansive caregiver tax credit, following Oklahoma, which passed a similar credit last June. On the national level, AARP continues to push for the Credit for Caring Act, which would provide a federal tax credit of up to $5,000 for eligible caregivers.

Learn more about how AARP is fighting for family caregivers, and keep up with our advocacy work in Maryland.

Natalie Missakian covers federal and state policy and writes AARP's Fighting for You Every Day blog. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Haven Register and daily newspapers in Ohio. She has also written for the AARP Bulletin, the Hartford Business Journal and other publications.

Also of Interest:

Lisa Ling Explores ‘Cost of Caregiving’ in New ‘CBS Mornings’ Special
States With Paid Family Leave Laws to Help Caregivers
Executive Order Provides Sweeping Support to Family Caregivers

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