March 21, 2017
The Honorable Sebastian Ridley-Thomas
Chair, Assembly Revenue & Taxation Committee
Sacramento, CA 95814
Re: AB 806 (Kalra) – Support
Dear Assembly Member Ridley-Thomas:
California Health Advocates writes in strong support of AB 806 authored by Assembly Member Kalra. This bill will allow a family caregiver tax credit of up to $1,000 starting on or after January 1, 2018.
California Health Advocates is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing quality Medicare and related healthcare coverage information, education and policy advocacy. California Health Advocates supports the work of local Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Programs (HICAP) which provide benefits counseling and community education on Medicare and long term care for beneficiaries, caregivers and family members.
California’s aging population is growing rapidly. According to the California Department of Aging’s Data and Statistics, California’s overall aging population is growing 112% between 1990 and 2020. The eldest of the elderly (people 85 and older who need the most care) is growing even faster at 143% between the same time period. The demand on family caregivers, who are the primary source of long-term caregiving, will only continue to increase as this burgeoning elder population requires more assistance with self-care, managing chronic conditions, etc.
Caregiving also imposes considerable direct costs on caregivers and their families, including medical services, medical devices and drugs not covered by the insurance, services and renovations for vehicles and home, supplemental income, food, clothing, and personal items for seniors. At the same time, caregivers in the workforce have to deal the financial impacts of wage loss, decreased job security, and negative effects on career paths and employment benefits such as health insurance and retirement savings. According to AARP data, approximately 4.5 million unpaid family caregivers in California provide care to a family member. The economic value of the estimated 3.85 million hours of this unpaid labor is $47 billion.
In the past, California had a $500 tax credit for California taxpayers who need long-term care or provide long-term care to family members. Yet that credit was discontinued in 2006. California Health Advocates urges passage of AB 806 to re-establish and re-bench a tax credit for family caregivers at $1,000.
Cc: Members, Assembly Revenue & Taxation Committee
Assembly Member Ash Kalra