Tammy West Celebrates Caring for Caregivers Act Becoming Law

Jun 09, 2023
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OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma will be the first state in the nation to adopt an expansive caregiver tax credit after the Caring for Caregivers Act became law this month. It takes effect Jan. 1, 2024.

House Majority Leader Tammy West, R-Oklahoma City, who championed the legislation in the House, praised the enactment of the bill that will allow tax credits for individuals who are caring for older loved ones in their homes.

"For Oklahoma's 490,000 family caregivers, caregiving is decidedly a labor of love, but the experience is stressful, isolating and has a real financial cost," West said. "This will provide these unpaid family caregivers much-needed financial relief and keep loved ones at home and out of costly taxpayer-funded nursing home. This presents a great solution that lets Oklahomans take care of their own without having to rely on the government to take charge of their family members."

HB1029XX – The Caring for Caregivers Act – will allow a tax credit up to 50% of eligible caregiver costs, capped at $2,000 per year for most participants and $3,000 per year for those caring for veterans or people with a dementia-related diagnosis. Eligible expenses include home modifications such as installing a ramp, durable medical equipment, assistive technologies, home health and more.  

The family caregiver must have a federal adjusted gross income below $50,000 for single filers or $100,000 for joint filers. The credit is for out-of-pocket costs incurred by the unpaid family caregiver for a limited set of services. It is capped at $1.5 million per year.

Other states offer smaller tax credits to certain caregivers or for expenses like home modifications, but according to AARP, Oklahoma is the first to adopt the more expansive credit.

According to AARP's?Valuing the Invaluable report released earlier this year, Oklahoma family caregivers provide a staggering $6.6 billion in unpaid care with the average individual spending an estimated $7,200 a year on expenses related to their duties. That’s on top of the emotional and physical challenges that often come with providing unpaid care for an older loved one.  

A recent AARP survey shows 93% of Oklahoma family caregivers pay out-of-pocket expenses for the following; 

·                 Transportation – 84% 

·                 Medical equipment – 50% 

·                 Home modifications – 42% 

·                 Hire in-home support services – 28% 

·                 Respite services – 16% 

AARP Oklahoma State Director Sean Voskuhl also praised the enactment of the legislation.

“We appreciate the strong leadership from House Majority Leader Tammy West and Sen. John Michael Montgomery and commend the Oklahoma Legislature for becoming the first in the nation to pass an expansive caregiver tax credit bill to ease the financial burden family caregivers face. When 91% of Oklahomans agree on an issue regardless of political affiliation, the message is clear, and we applaud our legislators for taking action,” Voskuhl said. "Family caregivers are the backbone of our country’s long-term care system. The Caring for Caregivers Act recognizes the hard work and sacrifice and helps lessen the financially challenging impacts of family caregivers’ responsibilities.” 

The measure passed the House unanimously in special session and earned majority passage in the Senate where it was carried by Sen. John Michael Montgomery. 

Oklahoma House of Representatives seal