Unpaid caregivers spend an exorbitant amount of time and energy caring for their loved ones; often dividing their daily landscape into a myriad of tasks that leave their own quality of life at bay. Putting aside the misnomer that we are a purely selfish society and “put our elderly away,” the 65million unpaid family caregivers do most of the heavy lifting in the United States. It is estimated that value of the services family caregivers provide for “free,” is $375 billion a year!
For sometime I have been advocating for those family caregivers to receive some sort of tax deduction. As AARP states, “Family support is a key driver in remaining in one’s home and in the community, but it comes at substantial costs to the caregivers themselves, to their families, and to society. If family caregivers were no longer available, the economic cost to the U.S.health care and long-term services and supports (LTSS) systems would increase astronomically.”
If you are a caregiver to your parent, whether they live with you or not, you can claim them as a dependent on your tax form if:
- Their gross income is less than $3,700 a year (not including social security or disability payments)
- You cover more than half of their cost’s for housing, medical care, transportation and other necessities
If you think you qualify there is a worksheet that can help you with this at: IRS Publication 501 irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p502.pdf To receive this or other IRS publications or forms via mail, you can call 800-829-3676.
Here is another great resource for question on Tax Tips for Seniors and Caregivers. Hope this is helpful. Spread the word. These programs need to expand to include more of us!