In state legislatures across the country and on Capitol Hill, lawmakers are grappling with the challenges of providing long-term care to the growing numbers of persons with disabilities, the frail elderly and their families.
Much of the attention of the 107th U.S. Congress has been on the Baby Boomers and long-term care. Debate has focused on developing new public policies for existing home and community-based programs, as well as private market-based options to finance care, such as private long-term care insurance. The federal bills largely focus on tax relief for family caregivers:
S627, introduced by Senators Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Bob Graham (D-Florida) in the Senate, and HR 831 introduced by Representatives Nancy Johnson (R-Connecticut) and Karen Thurman (D-Florida) in the House of Representatives would provide a $3,000 annual tax credit for persons with long-term care needs or their family caregivers, a tax deduction to help consumers pay long-term care insurance premiums for policies that meet consumer protections, and inclusion of long-term care coverage in employer cafeteria plans. This legislation, known as the Long-Term Care and Retirement Security Act of 2001, is similar to a bill that was not passed by Congress last year to establish a family caregiver tax credit of $3,000 a year.
S383, introduced by Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), would allow family caregivers of people with Alzheimer's disease or a related brain disorder a tax deduction for home care, respite care and adult day care expenses. A second bill, S384, also introduced by Senator Snowe, would incorporate respite care costs in the dependent care tax credit and make the dependent care credit refundable.
What you can do:
Contact your own Senators or House Member and urge them to co-sponsor these important pieces of legislation. These federal bills recognize that the financial strain of long-term care can be overwhelming to American families. They take an important step to provide some financial relief to family caregivers. For more information, contact Lynn Friss Feinberg at FCA.
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