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AARP Wants Financial Help For Millions Of Caregivers In Florida

Helping hands, care for the elderly concept
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The proposed Credit for Caring Act in Congress would provide a tax credit of up to $5,000 to eligible caregivers.

An estimated 48 million people in the U-S are providing in-home care to an adult loved one. 3 million of those caregivers live in Florida.

AARP says a new study demonstrates the need to support family caregivers with financial assistance. AARP is a membership group that lobbies for those over age 50. The group is touting the proposed Credit for Caring Act in Congress. It would provide a tax credit of up to $5,000 to eligible caregivers.

"Because Florida’s demographics are what they are with a significant aging population, there are a significant number of Floridians who are living this life and providing this care," says Jeff Johnson, state director of AARP Florida. "So providing a bit of a tax break for those who are providing that care is really helpful.”

Johnson says many caregivers sacrifice their own financial security for their loved ones.

"Many of us know people who are experiencing this or else we're providing care ourselves. One of the things we may not have thought about as we think about the time demands that it presents is that there's a financial impact as well," Johnson says. "So what our study showed was that 78% of family caregivers incur some kind of expenses out of pocket. On average, this is about $7000 a year.”

Florida has approximately 4.5 million residents age 65 and older, according to the state Office of Economic and Demographic Research. A decade from now, that number is projected to be about 6 million.

So, Johnson says AARP Florida is focused on the future of the long term care system.

"We think after the pandemic, a lot of things that have been wrong with our system - its over reliance on nursing homes that may not be able to always provide the best care - have become really clear," Johnson says, "It's important that we do everything we can to help people age at home because it's certainly where they would like to be in almost every case and also a more affordable place but also a safer place post COVID.”

The Credit For Caring Act lays out how caregivers would be eligible for the tax credit. For example, the people they’re caring for must meet certain physical or cognitive limitations according to doctors.

The proposal applies to anyone caring for a friend or family member at home. Johnson says Congress could take action on the proposal by early fall.