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Ernst, Bennet, Ayotte, and Warren Introduce Tax Credit for Family Caregivers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) today introduced the Credit for Caring Act, which would provide up to a $3,000 nonrefundable tax credit to working family caregivers for qualified expenses.

According to AARP, there are an estimated 40 million family caregivers in the United States, and 317,000 in Iowa. Most of these caregivers spend approximately 18 hours per week providing critical support to a family member.

The bipartisan Credit for Caring Act recognizes the essential role that family caregivers play in supporting aging parents or grandparents, and family members with a long-term illness or disability. Importantly, these caregivers help folks needing care stay in their homes, rather than entering a nursing or long-term care facility.

This tax credit helps alleviate some of the out of pocket financial expenses that caregivers often take on, all while balancing full or part-time employment. The credit would be available to family caregivers to provide some relief for the added costs caregivers incur, such as travel costs for transporting a loved one, home modifications to accommodate a family member’s special needs, medication management services, and more.

“Family caregivers play an invaluable role in ensuring their loved ones have access to the support they need, from the comfort of their own home,” said Senator Ernst.This role is not without challenges however, which is why the Credit for Caring Act is essential. As Iowans take on the added financial responsibilities of long-term care for their family members, our bipartisan tax credit proposal eases the difficulties working caregivers face, while providing their loved ones with quality care.”

“Family caregivers in Colorado and around the country provide billions of hours of unpaid care to ensure that loved ones can perform daily activities and continue to live independently,” said Senator Bennet. “And as the population continues to age, the need for family care will only increase, adding to the physical, emotional, and financial stress on caregivers. This bipartisan tax credit will help family caregivers afford the costs of caring for a loved one.”

“Family caregivers in New Hampshire and across the country help their loved ones who require caregiving assistance to stay at home, where they often prefer to be,” said Senator Ayotte. “As a co-founder of the Assisting Caregivers Today Caucus, I’m pleased to support this important legislation that will help ease the financial burden on caregivers and better support those who give so selflessly to their loved ones.”

“More than 40 million Americans provide unpaid care to a friend or relative with a long-term illness or medical condition, often juggling this work with other obligations and spending a great deal of money providing this care,” said Senator Warren. “This modest tax credit will make life a little easier for the hardworking Americans who do the often-unacknowledged but powerfully important work of taking care of their loved ones in need.”


“AARP is pleased to endorse the Credit for Caring Act and appreciates Senator Ernst’s bipartisan leadership to support family caregivers,” said AARP Anthony Carroll, AARP Iowa Associate State Director of Advocacy. “There are an estimated 317,000 family caregivers in Iowa who provide an estimated more than $3.8 billion annually in unpaid care to their adult loved ones.  Family caregivers help their loved ones live independently in their homes and communities, saving taxpayer dollars by helping to delay or prevent more costly institutional care and helping to prevent unnecessary hospital readmissions. According to a 2015 study of 45+ registered voters in Iowa, 59 percent of family caregivers use their own money to provide care.  We look forward to working with Senator Ernst and others to pass this bipartisan family caregiver tax credit in Congress to help address the financial realities of family caregivers in Iowa and across the country.”

To ensure appropriate taxpayer protections are in place, this credit would also phase out at higher income levels and contains important provisions to prevent double dipping.

The Credit for Caring Act is the companion to H.R. 4708 introduced by Congressman Tom Reed (R-NY) in March.

About the Credit for Caring Act:

  • Creates up to a $3,000 nonrefundable tax credit adjusted to inflation for family caregivers
  • Applies to incurred family caregiving expenses greater than $2,000
  • Qualified care recipients must have been certified by a health care practitioner to be in need of long-term care for at least 180 consecutive days
  • Eligibility is limited to a caregiver of a qualified care recipient who must pay for caregiving expenses and has earned income in excess of $7,500
  • Credit is phased out when income exceeds $150,000 for joint filers or $75,000 for individual filers

Family Caregivers in Iowa:

  • According to AARP, there are 317,000 family caregivers in Iowa at any given time during the year

  • AARP also found that the unpaid contributions of family caregivers in Iowa are valued at $3.86 billion