Addressing the rapidly aging population of Ohioans and those who have to take care of their older (and younger) relatives is the goal of a new Ohio House bill introduced just before the holiday break.
The Caregiver Expenses Tax Credit (House Bill 454) is sponsored by state Reps. Allison Russo, D-Upper Arlington, and Janine Boyd, D-Cleveland Heights, and would create a credit for certain costs of caring for loved ones.
Cleveland.com data reporter Rich Exner has predicted that the 2020 census will show those aged 60 and older outnumbering those aged 20 and younger in Ohio.
According to the language of the bill, the person being cared for has to be 18 or over and need help with “one activity of daily living.”
Russo said the bill would fill a gap that isn’t covered by current kinship care laws, typically used to support children.
“This is focused on adults, such as an aging parent, an adult child who is disabled, or a spouse who has a chronic condition that needs help with at least one activity of daily living,” Russo said.
The measure comes as the conversation grows on the state and federal level regarding paid family leave. Advocates for a federal paid leave program have said the country is increasingly seeing a “sandwich generation,” those who are obligated to care for elder parents or family members, and younger children.
The house bill’s cosponsor Boyd has already introduced legislation to bring paid leave into the state. That bill currently awaits review by the House.
Russo also sees the new measure as a good way to move forward with paid family leave.
“Many of us who work in this space feel we need packages of policy to get at this issue,” Russo said. “This is one more tool in the tool kit.”
House Bill 454 was introduced on Tuesday in the House, but it has not been assigned to a committee.