Axne bill would give tax credit to eldercare workers

DES MOINES — Iowa Congresswoman Cindy Axne is cosponsoring a bill she says will help people facing challenges in caring for older people.

Axne, a Democrat from West Des Moines, says the Americans Giving Care to Elders or AGE Act would provide tax credits of up to $1,200 to taxpayers earning under 200-thousand dollars a year to offset eldercare expenses.

“This will help our caregivers to be able to buy medications, help with medical tasks, daily living assistance — all of that stuff,” said Axne. “So, this will help provide some of the support our families need, take out some of the cost, give those caregivers some reprieve. They can hire a babysitter and use that money to give them a couple of hours to go to the grocery store and have maybe an hour’s peace to take a walk.”

Axne met with caregivers in a roundtable discussion at Des Moines Area Community College last week on issues facing caregivers. In many cases, she says the caregivers are adults who must take care of their parents.

“We have people who are in their 50s and 60s who are in the prime of their earning years and they’re also taking care of their own children,” she said. “They’re then needing to step up and take care of their parents. It’s very expensive, and in many cases, it requires somebody to leave the workplace, which puts a huge impact on those families. It also puts a lot of stress on them.”

Axne introduced the bill along with Republican Congressman David McKinley of West Virginia and Democratic Representative Jan Schakowsky of Illinois. In addition to bipartisan support, she says the measure is also backed by a number of organizations.

“We’ve got support from the American Heart Association, the Longterm Care Community Coalition, the American Seniors Association — on and on — about how important this is,” said Axne. “So, I know that across the board, people bipartisanly agree that we’ve got to support our caregivers because sometimes, it’s just too much for people to handle.”

The bill is under consideration in the House Ways and Means Committee.

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