OKLAHOMA CITY — The full Senate approved House Bill 1368 Tuesday, which provides a tax credit to caregivers who provide many hours of unpaid care each year.
Sen. John Michael Montgomery, R-Lawton, served as the principal Senate author of the bill that aims to provide support and relief to individuals caring for an eligible family member aged 62 or older.
“Caregivers essentially have a full-time job assisting their family member, all while keeping up with their prior family, job, school, or other commitments,” Montgomery said. “Nearly 26 percent of Oklahomans over the age of 45 are currently providing care for a family member or friend. This care often keeps family out of expensive nursing home facilities but requires around-the-clock care including managing medications, preparing meals, traveling to medical appointments and other necessary supervision or assistance.”
If the bill becomes law, this legislation would provide a $2,000 tax credit to cover caregiving expenses. If the eligible family member is a veteran or has dementia, their annual credit is increased to $3,000. If an individual received the full tax credit, the cost per day would be $5.47 or $8.21. Currently, the average state and federal dollars used per resident per day in a nursing home are $224.24, totaling $69,000 a year.
“By helping keep loved ones in their home longer, we’re also saving tax dollars. Families may spend a large amount to care for their relatives in need, so HB 1368 is designed to help offset those costs and ease some of the stress and worry that caregivers are left to deal with,” Montgomery said.
Rep. Tammy West, R-Oklahoma City, is the House principal author of the bill.