Idaho Examiner - Sen. Larry Craig News Releases

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

BILL INTRODUCED TO ASSIST FAMILIES

Provides tax credits to families caring for elderly relatives

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Idaho Senator Larry Craig introduced legislation today to assist families caring for elderly relatives by providing tax credits to help offset expenses. The Senior Elder Care Relief and Empowerment Act (SECURE Act), S. 835, provides taxpayers with a non-refundable tax credit equal to 50 percent of qualified expenses incurred on behalf of senior citizens above a $1,000 spending floor.

Many Baby Boomers have a new label – the Sandwich Generation, referring to people caring for both their parents and children. It is difficult for families to balance caring for children and saving or paying for college, while at the same time struggling with financing care for frail and aging parents. Many caregivers forgo job promotions, reduce their hours on the job, cut back to part-time, or take extended leaves of absence to stay at home and care for their aging family members.

Craig said, “Family care-giving for aging and vulnerable relatives requires a flexible national response to ensure seniors and their families have the most appropriate high quality choices. That is why I am introducing the SECURE Act. This legislation would help reduce the financial strain and related emotional and medical stress faced by family caregivers, as they care for their frail and aging parents, by providing much-needed tax relief for qualified expenses.

“The SECURE Act would increase the eldercare choices available to families and has the potential to reduce the number of seniors forced to spend down their life savings until they become impoverished enough to qualify for Medicaid services. Not only does this legislation offer support for families, it addresses the increased pressures on Medicaid. In my own state of Idaho, the aged and disabled make up about 22 percent of the Medicaid population, yet utilize 70 percent of the total Medicaid dollars for the state. The SECURE Act has the potential to alleviate some of the stress on our state Medicaid programs.”

Qualified expenses include costs that are not reimbursable -- those not covered by Medicare or other insurance -- for physical assistance with essential daily activities to prevent injury; long-term care expenses, including normal household services; architectural expenses necessary to modify the senior’s residence; respite care; adult daycare; assisted living services that are non-housing related expenses; independent living; home care; and home health care.

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