We often refer to family caregivers as Wisconsin’s unsung heroes, flying under the radar for little or no money while providing vital care that allows their loved ones to continue living in their homes and communities as long as possible.
In fact, did you know that Wisconsin’s 578,000-plus family caregivers provide about 538 million hours of care to their parents, spouses, partners, and others every year? In addition, they spend an average of $7,000 per year on out-of-pocket costs related to caregiving.
These caregivers put in long hours helping loved ones with tasks such as giving baths, dispensing medications, preparing meals, paying bills, and providing transportation to doctor’s appointments.
For years we at AARP Wisconsin have been focused on finding ways to provide some relief for these folks, and we’re excited to report that a bipartisan group of lawmakers is now set to propose legislation that takes the first step.
Sen. Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point), Rep. Ken Skowronski (R-Franklin), Sen. Bob Wirch (D-Kenosha) and Rep. Debra Kolste (D-Janesville) are introducing the "Credit For Caring Act" specifically to help caregivers offset some of the personal expenses they incur while providing care for loved ones.
They are urging fellow state lawmakers to join them as co-sponsors of the bill, which would create a $1,000 nonrefundable individual income tax credit for certain expenses incurred by a family caregiver to assist a qualified family member.
We believe this legislation is long overdue and we will do everything in our capacity to help advance it through the legislative process and into law.
With thousands of Baby Boomers retiring each day and fewer home health care workers available to take care of them, AARP believes that making small investments in caregivers now will lead to big savings for Wisconsin and much better care for families down the road.
We hope you agree with us that it’s time Wisconsin steps up our game and does more to assist these heroes throughout the state. We hope lawmakers will clearly understand that this tax credit is an important first step to providing this critical support.