ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A mother caring for her drug addicted son. A husband, caring for his wife with Alzheimer’s. A daughter, caring for her elderly parents. Some four million New Yorkers spend billions of unpaid hours helping their family members.
Assemblyman Harry Bronson (D-138 District) has introduced a bill that would authorize home caregivers to have an income tax credit on their state returns. Bronson says caregivers with ailing family at home run up costs that add up quickly.
“So by offering a tax credit, we’re putting the money back into the caregiver’s pockets,” Bronson said.
Bronson says the high price tags on everyday responsibilities take away from the caregiver providing for the rest of the family.
“They expend (on average) upwards of $7,000 per year in their own personal money to help the person they are caring for.”
At one time a home caregiver, Brian Norton lost his wife Amy to Alzheimer’s over a year ago.
“I think the hardest thing right now is this new sort of life I’m living,” says Norton.
He says up to two-thirds of his annual income was spent caring for her at home.
“Because of our age, we didn’t qualify for Medicare, and our financial resources were such that Medicaid and other services didn’t apply,” he said.
Norton says he kept Amy at home for three years because it was the best option for her, but additional costs added up fast. Norton supports Bronson’s bill.
“Any little bit that can help defray some of those costs I think is a positive,” he said.
Like Brian and Amy, Bronson says most people with disabilities want to be at home around family, rather than elsewhere.
“This credit will allow them to do that,” he says.
Bronson says he thinks there is bipartisan support for this bill and it will cost New York about $25 million. He says negotiations on the proposal will start this January.