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35 Organizations Urge NYS Legislative Leaders to Include Family Caregiver Tax Credit in State Budget

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Health, Consumer, Aging & Other Groups Call for Groundbreaking Senate-Backed Pilot

ALBANY, N.Y. – Thirty-five health, consumer, aging and other organizations are urging New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie to include a middle class tax credit for unpaid family caregivers in the final state budget due April 1. The groups co-signed a letter to the legislative leaders asking them to provide badly-needed financial relief to unpaid family caregivers, who spend $8,200 out of their own pockets on average each year to care for loved ones – unpaid care valued at over $31 billion annually across New York.

“We were very excited to see the state Senate include a tax credit for unpaid family caregivers in its one-house budget proposal, but we need the Governor, Speaker Heastie and the Assembly to agree to the proposal to make it a reality,” said AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel.

A caregiver tax credit has the support of 84% of New York voters age 50 and over, according to an AARP New York survey.

While the average caregiver spends 20% of income on caregiving, the burden is even higher for caregivers of color: 44% for Hispanic caregivers, who spent over $9,000 on average in 2016, and 34% of income for African Americans, according to a national AARP survey.

Joining AARP in calling for enactment of a tax credit for unpaid family caregivers in the final state budget are the Hispanic Federation, the NAACP of New York, the New York Urban League, the Asian American Federation and many others.

“A family caregiver tax credit would provide much-needed financial relief to family caregivers and help them to care for their loved ones at home, where the vast majority want to be,” the letter says. ”While respite is essential to providing family caregivers relief from their duties, they also need help with the financial toll of caring for their loved ones.”

Under the AARP-backed Senate proposal, individual tax filers with a gross annual income of $75,000 or less and couples with a gross annual income of $150,000 or less could claim a credit for up to $3,500 or half of eligible expenses. Such expenses could include payments for home health aides, adult day care, personal care attendants, homemaker services, respite care, health care equipment, home modifications, and transportation – all of which help aging adults to continue living independently in their own homes.

New York’s nearly 2.5 million family caregivers play a critical role in keeping health care costs under control. And a caregiver tax credit would actually save taxpayers money by helping to keep loved ones out of more costly, less desirable and mostly taxpayer-funded nursing homes.

“Unpaid family caregivers were already struggling before the pandemic, but now the situation of many is dire,” added Finkel. “With state revenues up and billions of dollars of federal funds coming into New York, if this isn’t the year to fund this modest pilot tax credit, then I don’t know when is.”

Contact: Erik Kriss, ekriss@aarp.org

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About AARP AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.

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