ALBANY, NY (WSKG) – The lobby group AARP finds nearly 80% of New York’s 2.5 million unpaid family care givers pay a significant amount of their own money to help care for their loved one. The group is pushing for a federal, and state, tax credit to help ease that growing burden.
AARP surveyed caregivers in the spring of 2021,and found that unpaid family caregivers spend an average of $7242.00 of their own money to care for an elderly or disabled relative.
The group’s New York Director of Government Affairs and Advocacy, David McNally, says the money goes to a wide range of needs.
“Over 50% of the money was spent on housing,” said McNally, who said that includes paying for mortgage rent, or home modifications.
Others reported day to day expenses.
“Gas to drive someone to the doctor ,” McNally said. “Certain foods that they need for their diet.”
And he says those costs disproportionately fall on Black and Latino caregivers.
By age group, Generation X caregivers spent the most money, at more than $8500.00 in out of pocket expenses, while Generation Z and Millennials spent a larger share of their total household income on caregiving.
Caregivers also lose pay when they have to take time off from work, or use paid family leave, which does not fully reimburse a person’s salary.
The problem is only expected to grow as the population ages.
AARP is asking Congress to approve a tax credit of up to $5000.00 to help offset the caregivers’ costs. They still have to pay for the out of pocket expenses, but they would not have to pay taxes on those items or services or on the income they use to make the purchases.
“Unpaid family care givers are the backbone of long term care in our country,” McNally said. “They need more support.”
The measure has bi partisan support, and is backed in New York by Democrats Tom Suozzi of Long Island and Brian Higgins in Western New York, and Republican Tom Reed, from the Southern Tier.
A similar tax credit proposal in the New York State legislature is sponsored by Again Committee Chairs, Senator Rachel May and Assemblymember Ron Kim.
AARP is launching a media campaign to gain support for the proposals.
McNally says family caregivers can find more information about how to better plan financially on the group’s website.