Tester Announces New Caregivers Bill Alongside Seniors in Billings

Bipartisan Legislation Will Provide Family Caregivers with Much Needed Financial Support to Take Care of Aging Loved Ones

(Billings, Mont.)-Senator Jon Tester today was joined by seniors and family caregivers in Billings to announce new legislation that will give much needed financial support to families providing long-term care for loved ones.

Tester’s bill, the Credit for Caring Act, will create a nonrefundable tax credit worth up to $3,000 per year for individuals who spend more than $2,000 on caregiving expenses. Tester’s bill will help families pay for home modifications and medical supplies-as well as help reimburse family caregivers for lost wages and unpaid time-off due to providing care.

“As parents and spouses age, many folks are forced to prioritize their role as a primary caretaker for their loved ones,” Tester said. “This bill provides family caregivers with more financial certainty, which will increase the quality of care they can provide, and allow seniors to remain in their own homes. Establishing this tax credit is good for families, good for seniors, and good for our economy.”

Tester was joined by Al Ward, State President of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), and Kathleen Burke, a Billings native who was a caregiver for her parents and grandparents while they were living with Alzheimer’s.

“By supporting family caregivers with a tax credit, we can help people stay at home, which is where they want to be. This bill helps to delay more costly nursing home care, prevent unnecessary hospitalization, and saves taxpayers dollars. AARP supports Senator Tester’s Credit for Caring Act that provides a tax credit to eligible working family caregivers who care for loved ones of all ages,” said Ward.

“As a caregiver, I support this legislation that provides tax credits for families so seniors can stay in their own homes. Thank you Senator Tester for identifying ways to help family caregivers cope with the financial impact of devastating diseases such as Alzheimer’s,” Burke added.

To be eligible for the tax credit, caregivers must incur expenses for providing care to a spouse or other family member, and the person they’re caring for must be certified by a health care practitioner as needing long-term care.

According to the AARP, 118,000 Montanans serve as family caregivers and provide $1.4 billion in uncompensated care each year.

Across the nation, there are nearly 12 million people in need of long-term care, and family caregivers spend an estimated 30 billion hours caring for older family and friends each year without receiving any compensation.

Tester’s bill has bipartisan support, and it has been endorsed by the AARP.