Family caregivers are facing significant out-of-pocket costs, a new AARP study shows, spending on average over a quarter of their income caring for an adult family member.
Generation X caregivers are spending the most overall, but Generation Z and Millennial caregivers are spending a higher percentage of their income.
David McNally, director of Government Affairs with AARP, said 80% of those caring for a family member are paying on average at least 26% of their income on out-of-pocket caregiving expenses.
“And African Americans say it's over a third of their total income, so there's a lot of financial stress involved in unpaid family caregiving,” McNally said. “These people are doing tremendous work and they need more support.”
The study showed that housing, medical bills and assisted living expenses are eating up the majority of caregiving costs.
Those caring for someone with health or mental health issues are often spending even more on care.
“If you're caring for somebody who has a mental illness, dementia or Alzheimer's, just on average, you’re spending over $10,000 out of your own pocket on paid family care,” McNally said.
Over 100 organizations, including AARP, are supporting a bipartisan piece of legislation in Congress, called the Credit for Caring Act.
This bill would provide working family caregivers a tax credit of up to $5,000 to assist with out-of-pocket caregiving expenses.
“It would provide something to help them,” McNally said. “They are breaking financially. Family caregiving is a burden. It's one that's important to the caregiver and important to their loved one, but it takes its toll financially, physically, emotionally, and these folks need all the support they can get.”
U.S. Reps. Tom Reed, Brian Higgins and Tom Suozzi are all co-sponsors of the bill.