WASHINGTON D.C. [05/10/2019] – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) reintroduced the Americans Giving Care to Elders (AGE) Act to provide financial relief to caregivers by creating a tax credit for the costs of caring for an aging relative. The AGE Act would allow families to qualify for a tax credit to help offset expenses—ranging from purchasing assistive technologies and devices, respite care, to making necessary home modifications—of up to $6,000 per year. Klobuchar first introduced the AGE Act in 2015. The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Tina Smith (D-MN), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).
“We know that caregiving can be extremely expensive—especially when family members must quit a job or reduce hours in order to provide care,” Klobuchar said. “To help ease the emotional and financial toll, the AGE Act would provide family caregivers with tax credits to offset the costs of care. We have to make sure the millions of family members who serve as caregivers for their aging loved ones are able to not just take care of others, but also themselves.”
“As our community ages, providing caregivers with the resources and support they need to care for their loved ones is important for long-term planning,” Hirono said. “Our caregivers provide an essential service within our health care system, and the AGE Act would help caregivers ease the financial burden of caring for their loved ones. By providing them with this tax credit, we can make sure our caregivers do not have to choose between ensuring stable care for their loved ones and maintaining the health and well-being of their families.”
“It’s a round-the-clock job to care for a loved one, and people often have to put careers on hold or take time away from working to provide that care,” Smith said. “I stand with my fellow Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar in fighting for this effort so we can help ease the burden on caregivers in Minnesota and across the country.”
“Caring for an aging loved one can be difficult and financially burdensome. Spouses, adult children and other relatives often take up the role of caregivers and provide care without pay or compensation. This bill would provide these caregivers the support they need by creating tax credits to help offset the cost of purchasing assistive devices, providing respite care and making home modifications to care for an elderly family member. Americans shouldn’t have to choose between caring for family or financial ruin, and this bill will help ensure that isn’t the case,” Feinstein said.
The AGE Act is endorsed by the American Heart Association, Alzheimer’s Association, LeadingAge, and LeadingAge’s Minnesota chapter.
“The American Heart Association is pleased to endorse the Americans Giving Care to Elders (or AGE) Act. Caregivers are indispensable assets to our health care system and often play a significant role in the recovery and well-being of heart disease and stroke survivors. As the nation’s population ages, the need for caregivers will escalate. This legislation is a critical first step to ensuring that those who care for elderly parents or relatives have the resources necessary to maintain the health and wellbeing of their families. We applaud Sen. Klobuchar for her leadership on this important issue,” said American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown.
“On behalf of the more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s, and the 16 million more providing unpaid care, we applaud Senator Klobuchar for her leadership introducing the AGE Act,” said Robert Egge, Alzheimer’s Association Chief Public Policy Officer and Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM) Executive Director. “Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease for the individual living with the disease as well as their caregivers. Caregivers of people living with dementia are twice as likely to report substantial emotional, financial and physical difficulties. This bill would provide some financial relief to families caring for loved ones and provide them with peace of mind.”
“The cost of unpaid family caregiving is estimated to total about $470 million every year,” said Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge. “Many of these caregivers sacrifice wages, retirement savings and, in some cases, their own health in order to support aging relatives. LeadingAge applauds Sen. Klobuchar for her leadership on this issue that is so important to older adults and their families.”
“More and more family members are serving in the role as caregivers for their elderly family members, and those numbers will only grow as our baby boomer population ages. We applaud Senator Klobuchar’s continued leadership on programs that recognize and support family caregivers. We strongly support the AGE Act as it will help reduce the financial burden for adult children who help care for aging family members and provide education, support and respite to family caregivers,” said LeadingAge Minnesota President & CEO Gayle Kvenvold.
Throughout her time in the Senate, Klobuchar has been fighting to ensure that older Americans can live a life of dignity, with access to good health care and the peace of mind that their personal information is safe. The bipartisan Seniors Fraud Prevention Act, which Klobuchar introduced with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), passed the Senate Commerce Committee earlier this month. The bill would help fight scams designed to strip seniors of their assets by educating the community about fraud schemes and improving the monitoring of, and response to, fraud complaints. In October 2017, the bipartisan Court-Appointed Guardian Accountability and Senior Protection Act Klobuchar introduced with Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) was signed into law as part of the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act. The law helps crack down on elder abuse by strengthening oversight and accountability for guardians and conservators.
Klobuchar has also been a leader in curbing the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs, improving and strengthening Medicare, and protecting American consumers by leading major legislation, such as the Empowering Medicare Seniors to Negotiate Drug Prices Act—which has 34 Senate cosponsors—to lift the ban on Medicare negotiating the best prices for prescription drugs, the bipartisan Safe and Affordable Drugs from Canada Act, to permit the safe importation of prescription drugs from Canada, and the Preserve Access to Affordable Generics and Biosimilars Act, which would stop pharmaceutical companies from paying to delay the entry of generics and keeping competitors out of the market.