Sen. Tester announces new bill to assist family caregivers


by Samantha Harrelson

BILLINGS – Senator Jon Tester was in Billings on Wednesday, announcing new legislation that would give financial support to those taking care of aging loved ones.

Testers bill, the Credit for Caring Act, would create a non-refundable tax credit of up to $3,000 for certain individuals.  To qualify, individuals must spend more than $2,000 on care giving expenses. The bill is designed to help families pay for things like home modification, medical supplies, and also to help cover some wages lost when a family caregiver has to take unpaid time-off to provide care.

According to AARP, more than 100,000 Montanans serve as family caregivers, and provide $1.4 billion in uncompensated care every year.

“Well we are an aging state, and the demand for caregivers is going up and will continue to go up, and to do nothing is not an option. So this is a step in the right direction, I believe, to be able to help keep elderly people in particular in their own homes and allow their family members to give them care…which is the best way to do it in my opinion,” said Senator Jon Tester.

The bill has gained bipartisan support.

Senator Tester says this is not all that is needed, but it would be a good place to start.