Proposed bill could ease financial burden for family caregivers

Published: Jul. 6, 2021 at 5:28 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - It’s likely you, or someone you know, has taken care of a loved one on a long-term basis. According to AARP, people spend around $7,000 a year as caretakers on average.

For a lot of people, that’s a big financial burden, along with the emotional toll that you really can’t put a number on.

However, there is a new bill in Congress that could at least help bring down the cost of looking after a loved one.

It’s called the Credit for Caring Act, and it would offer up to a $5,000 tax credit for eligible caregivers.

In a recent study, AARP found that housing is often the biggest expense for caregivers, but other expenses, like medicine and doctors’ visits, add up.

Caregivers are also often managing looking after a loved one, which can be like a part time job, with a full time job. Amanda Fredricksen, associate state director for advocacy and outreach for AARP Texas, said that’s why something like the Credit for Caring Act makes sense.

“Proposals like the Credit for Caring act just really makes good financial sense to really help support these family caregivers keep doing what they’re already doing,” Fredricksen said. “They want to do this for their loved ones. But sometimes they need a little help.”

Fredricksen said there are 3.4 million caretakers alone in the state, and they’re really the backbone of the long-term care system. She said this proposed bill recognizes that.

“We have more unpaid family caregivers than we do paid caregivers in the long term care system and without them, folks that depend on these family caregivers are likely to need more costly care,” Fredricksen said.

“And that’s either going to come out of pocket or that’s going to have to come from health through government programs like Medicaid.”

Fredricksen said that while the average cost for taking care of a loved one is $7,000, there are some differences AARP found in the study.

Older generations are paying more to take care of their loved ones, but younger generations, like Millennials and Generation Z, are paying a larger share of their income.

“It’s taking a bigger hit out of their out of their pockets it’s a bigger share of their income,” Fredricksen said. “Probably in part because they’re younger, and they don’t have the longer lifetime to save and earn.”

While the tax credit is just part of a proposed bill, there are other resources caregivers can take advantage of now. You can find more information on the AARP website.

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