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NJ Organizations Join Together and Deliver Hundreds of Handwritten Stories Urging Governor Murphy and NJ Legislature to Invest in Family Caregivers and Provide Financial Relief

NJ Organizations Join Together and Deliver Hundreds of Handwritten Stories Urging Governor Murphy and NJ Legislature to Invest in Family Caregivers and Provide Financial Relief

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Organizations Urge Governor Murphy and NJ Legislature to Pass the Caregiver’s Assistance Act (A1802/S2021)

TRENTON, NJ (June 5, 2023) – Members from a coalition of diverse organizations, including consumer advocates, health care providers, age-friendly communities, faith-based and social justice organizations, gathered today at the State House to urge Governor Murphy and the NJ Legislature to include the Caregiver’s Assistance Act (A1802/S2021) in the FY’24 state budget to provide eligible family caregivers with a modest income tax credit.

The coalition delivered hundreds of handwritten stories collected from family caregivers across the state to Governor Phil Murphy, Senate President Nicholas Scutari and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin.

Family caregivers, on average, spend 26% of their income on caregiving activities to keep their loved ones at home. The economic value of unpaid care provided by family caregivers in New Jersey is approximately $17 billion. To put this in perspective, the state’s entire Medicaid budget is about $20 billion.

“Family caregivers spend thousands out of their own pockets, and with inflation making everything more expensive, too many New Jersey families are struggling,” said Crystal McDonald, Associate State Director of Advocacy, AARP New Jersey. “Family caregivers save New Jersey billions by caring for their older loved ones. Their tireless unpaid efforts help keep their parents and spouses or other loved ones at home, where they want to be, and out of costly, tax-payer funded nursing homes. This is crucial financial relief that family caregivers have earned. It’s time to make family caregiving more affordable in New Jersey.”

Among New Jersey voters 50 and older, there is overwhelming support (84%) for the state to expand the tax credit for Wounded Warrior caregivers to all family caregivers who provide care for older loved ones, according to a report from AARP. The Caregiver’s Assistance Act (A1802/S2021) would provide a fully refundable gross income tax credit of up to $675 per year for certain expenses paid or incurred for care and support of a qualifying senior family member.

“Any bit of financial relief would help us,” said Jackie Decker, a family caregiver from Voorhees, New Jersey. “The increased gas prices have put a major dent in our budgets, as have the increased costs of food, medical premiums, out-of-pocket prescriptions and incontinence products. The incontinence products alone cost $100 per month. I shop for items at the grocery store and when I'm finished, I circle around and put many items back, as the total cost will exceed our budget. $675 would be such a blessing!”

“Family caregivers play an essential role in our healthcare system by providing a support system at home,” said Cathy Bennet, President and CEO, NJ Hospital Association. “We urge the legislature to enact the Caregiver’s Assistance Act to provide much needed financial relief.”

“Caregivers provide invaluable support to those in need, often at great personal costs,” said Nancy Fitterer, President and CEO, Home Care & Hospice Association of New Jersey. “This tax credit recognizes this sacrifice and helps to alleviate some of the financial burden that caregivers face. It is an important policy tool for supporting caregivers and ensuring that those who need care can receive it.”

"As longevity rises and New Jersey’s demographics shift towards an older population, more and more people will find themselves as caregivers,” said Cathy Rowe, DrPH, Executive Director, NJ Advocates for Aging Well. “At the same time New Jersey, like most of the United States, is facing a severe shortage in trained workers that provide community-based services and home care. This places an increasing burden on family caregivers and forces people to cut back on or leave work to care for their loved one."

“Family members provide essential care to New Jersey’s older adults and often do so willingly and with true devotion,” said Marian Garber Marlowe, Director of Local Partnerships at Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ. “Unfortunately, though, being a caregiver often can take a difficult toll, and financial concerns only add to the many pressures faced by caregivers. Because it provides a way to lessen the financial burden of certain caregivers, we urge support for the Caregiver’s Assistance Act.”

“The Caregiver Tax Credit is vital to family caregivers,” said Robin Ennis, Manager, Caregivers Coalition, United Way of Northern New Jersey. Among working family caregivers, more than 69% alter their schedules, decrease their hours, take unpaid leave, or pursue an early retirement to fulfill caregiving responsibilities. Upward of 47% of working family caregivers have had caregiving expenses that caused them to use all or most of their savings. And, the health and economic costs of informal caregiving are enormous, it is critical to also recognize that informal caregivers provide roughly $450 billion worth of care every year, exceeding annual Medicaid payments for the past few years. Their contributions also far exceed paid homecare. This army of unpaid caregivers release pressure and saves our health care system substantial costs. Please pass A1802/S2021 to provide a tax credit to family caregivers.”

“Unpaid caregiving for our aging loved ones is a core component of our economy, but it is far too often hidden,” said Yarrow Willman-Cole, Workplace Program Director, NJ Citizen Action. “Providing financial support for this work with the Caregiver Tax Credit not only helps support the financial stability of our caregivers, but it signals the work they do is finally deserving of being seen and supported financially. Investing in our caregivers makes real the value that they bring to their loved one's lives, and to our overall care economy.”

This diverse group of organizations will continue to urge Governor Murphy and the NJ Legislature to recognize and prioritize financial relief for family caregivers. It’s time to make family caregiving more affordable in New Jersey.


Coalition Members Include:

  • AARP New Jersey, Crystal McDonald, Associate State Director of Advocacy
  • Alzheimer’s Association – Greater NJ Chapter, Cheryl Ricci-Francione, Executive Director
  • Age Friendly Englewood, Janet Sharma, Coordinator
  • Age Friendly Ridgewood, Beth Abott and Sheila Brogan, Co-Chairs
  • CentraState Healthcare System, Brandon Eldershaw, Supervisor of Community Wellness
  • Disability Rights New Jersey, Gwen Orlowski, Executive Director
  • Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ, Marian Garber Marlowe, Director of Local Partnerships
  • Home Care & Hospice Association of New Jersey, Nancy Fitterer, President and CEO
  • National Alliance on Mental Health Illness New Jersey, Meredith Masin Blount, Executive Director
  • New Jersey Advocates for Aging Well, Cathy Rowe, DrPH, Executive Director
  • New Jersey Black Issues Convention, Reva Foster, Chair
  • NJ Citizen Action, Yarrow Willman-Cole, Workplace Justice Program Director
  • New Jersey Hospital Association, Christine Stearns, Chief Government Relations Officer
  • New Jersey Policy Perspective, Nicole Rodriguez, President
  • Reva Foster Senior Center, Reva Foster, Executive Director, Community Affairs, Senior Services and Veterans Affairs
  • United Way of Northern New Jersey, Robin Ennis, Manager, Caregivers Coalition
  • Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey Community Health Center, Inc., Christopher Rinn, CEO
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