As part of the Governor's Aging with Dignity Initiative, California family caregivers may now be eligible for a modest $500 tax credit. The Bill, AB 2871, introduced by Assembly Member Lou Correa and approved by Governor Davis on July 7, is effective for the tax year that began January 1, 2000. The credit is designed to help ease the financial burden associated with providing unpaid, long-term care to family members.
To be eligible for the credit, the care recipient must be certified by a physician as needing long-term care for at least 180 consecutive days. Caregivers of adult family members qualify if the care recipient is unable to perform three activities of daily living (ADLs) without substantial assistance, or if the care recipient requires close supervision to ensure his or her safety due to cognitive impairments and cannot perform one ADL.
The tax credit may be multiplied to reflect multiple care recipients if the above criteria are met. For example, someone caring for both parents may be eligible for a tax credit of $1,000. Additional provisions in the bill apply to some family caregivers of children.
Two individuals qualify as caregivers for the same person, only one of them may apply for the tax credit. The credit is also limited to couples filing jointly with an adjusted gross income of less than $100,000 or a single tax payer with an adjusted gross income of less than $50,000.
The Governor's action reflects the growing acknowledgement of the work of family caregivers and the financial sacrifices that many of them make. We hope that federal lawmakers will look to California as an example as they consider President Clinton's Long-Term Care Initiative to support family caregivers.
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