AARP Massachusetts 2020 Legislative Priorities

Posted on 12/11/19

An Act To Establish The Family Caregiving Tax Credit
In Massachusetts, approximately 840,000 family caregivers provided an estimated 700 million hours of care — worth a staggering $12 billion — to their parents, spouses, partners, and friends in 2017, according to state data available in the latest report of AARP’s Valuing the Invaluable series. The complexity of family caregiving increases as medical and nursing tasks continue to enter the home, and family demographics change amidst an aging population.

Most family caregivers help their loved ones with “ activities of daily living” or ADLs. These include everyday functions and activities that individuals usually do without help, including bathing, continence, dressing, eating, toileting, and transferring. In addition, many caregivers are also expected to perform complex tasks on a daily basis such as administering multiple medications, providing wound care, and operating medical equipment.

The rising cost of health care, limitations to Medicare and other insurance coverage, the increased number of years that caregivers are providing care, and improved longevity for older Bay State residents have all necessitated that caregivers spend their own money to help pay for various elements of care.

For many caregivers, these out-of-pocket expenses can add up. A recent AARP study, Family Caregiving and Out-of-Pocket Costs,” showed that caregivers, on average, contribute roughly $7,000 of their own funds to their loved one’s care. (read the full report here).

To help family caregivers in the state, AARP Massachusetts has filed legislation that will provide a tax credit for certain expenses incurred by family caregivers.

An Act to Establish the Family Caregiver Tax Credit (H 2608/S 702) is sponsored by Sen. Jason M. Lewis (D-Fifth Middlesex) and Rep. David Rogers (D-24th Middlesex).

The Family Caregiver Tax Credit bill would provide a tax credit for certain expenses incurred by a family caregiver for the care and support of a qualifying family member.

Eligible expenditures for the family caregiver include:

  • Improvement or alteration to the family caregiver’s primary residence to enable the loved one being cared for to remain mobile, safe, and independent in her/his home and community.
  • The purchase or lease of equipment by the family caregiver, as needed to assist the loved one in one or more activities of daily living (ADLs).
  • Other expenses, as incurred by the family caregiver, for equipment or services that help in the care of a loved one, such as hiring a home care aide, costs associated with respite or adult day care, personal care attendant costs, and health care equipment and technology costs associated with caregiving.

The loved one receiving care must meet the following three conditions:

  • Be age 18 or over;
  • Require assistance with at least one activity of daily living (ADL), as certified by a licensed health care practitioner;
  • Be a dependent, spouse, parent or other relation by blood or marriage to the family caregiver.

To be eligible for the tax credit, the family caregiver claiming the credit must have a federal adjusted gross income of less than $75,000 for an individual, and less than $150,000 for a couple.

The amount of the credit is equal to 100 percent of the eligible expenses incurred by the taxpayer during the taxable year, with a maximum allowable credit of $1,500.

ACTION ALERT: We need more legislators to sign on as co-sponsors of this legislation — and that’s where you come in! Please urge your state representatives and senators to co-sponsor this bill by calling them at the State House at (617) 722-2000, or use this simple form to email them.

For more information, resources, and tips for family caregivers, please visit IHeartCaregivers, our Caregiver Resource Center, AARP Fighting for Caregivers, and the AARP Online Caregiver Community.

Work and Save: An Act to Establish the Massachusetts Secure Choice Retirement Program And Expand the Massachusetts CORE Plan To All Employers

Nearly half of workers in Massachusetts have no access to a retirement savings plan through their employers. A secure retirement is out of reach more than one million Massachusetts residents, especially those who work for themselves or small businesses. While Social Security is a critical piece of the puzzle; it is not enough to depend on. Many future retirees won’t be able to handle the rising cost of basic needs and health care.

In order to help Massachusetts businesses offer employees a way to save for retirement, AARP MA is filing legislation that would expand the existing Massachusetts CORE (Connecting Organizations to REtirement) plan, and establish the Secure Choice Retirement Program to help employees save money for retirement.

An Act to Establish the Massachusetts Secure Choice Retirement Program and Expand the Massachusetts CORE Plan to All Employers (H 1075/S 602) is sponsored by Rep. Tram Nguyen (D-18th Essex) and Sen. Pat Jehlen (D-2nd Middlesex).

Secure Choice makes it easier for businesses to offer employees a way to save for retirement out of their regular paycheck, and it’s an easy, stress-free way to grow retirement savings so you can take control of your future.

Advantages of Secure Choice:

  • You’re in Control: The savings is your own money that you can take with you from job to job, and rely on in later years to take control of your future.
  • Your Future, Your Choice: Accounts are voluntary. As an employee, it’s up to you to decide if you want to participate and how much you want to put away automatically from your paycheck.GETTY IMAGES/EYEEM
  • For All Ages: It is never too early, or too late, to start investing in your future.
  • Saves Taxpayer Dollars: Giving employees a simple way to save for retirement will mean fewer Bay Staters will need to rely on public assistance later in life, which will save millions in taxpayer dollars.

ACTION ALERT: Contact Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo and Senate President Karen Spilka at 617- 722-2000 and urge them to pass these bills now.

This story is provided by AARP Massachusetts. Visit the AARP Massachusetts page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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