Dem Ohio reps propose $1,000 tax credit for family caregivers

Rep. Allison Russo

Two lawmakers proposed legislation Tuesday that could grant a $1,000 tax credit to reimburse expenses for Ohioans acting as caregivers for family members.

Speaking to the House Ways and Means committee, Democratic state Reps. Allison Russo and Janine Boyd pitched their bill, which would allow these caregivers to claim a credit for 50 percent of their unreimbursed expenses during the year, up to $1,000.

Russo said the bill would ease the financial burden that comes with caring for loved ones who need the help. Given Ohio’s top-heavy age distribution, she said these burdens will become more of a reality in the state.

“We must be bold in our approaches to mitigate the growing financial pressures of our aging population and respond to the caregiving realities of our neighbors,” she said.

She cited an AARP report finding that family caregivers spend an annual average of nearly $7,000 out of their own pockets on related costs.

To qualify for the credit, the caregivers would need documentation from a health provider certifying their family member needs daily assistance with an “activity of daily living” — i.e. eating, bathing, dressing, incontinence.

Allowable expenses would be limited to home improvements like helping the family member remain mobile, or equipment that would help them with their daily activities.

Currently, the bill only allows the credits for people acting as caregivers with annual incomes below $75,000, but Rep. Mark Frazier, R-Newark, said it might be worth considering expanding the bill to people of any income level. He also suggested considering people who act as their own caregivers and need to make accommodations around their houses for certain disabilities.