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Gov. Whitmer to propose $5,000 caregiver tax credit for Michigan families

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer listening to people at a roundtable
(Bridge file photo)

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will lay out a proposal to provide tax relief for Michigan caregivers in her upcoming State of the State Address, according to her office.

Whitmer's "Caring for MI Family Tax Credit" plan would provide up to $5,000 in tax relief for thousands of Michigan families, covering expenses such as counseling, transportation and nursing or respite services. Whitmer's office said the proposal will allow more seniors in Michigan to age where they live and help parents caring for children with long-term needs.

In tending to loved ones suffering from serious health conditions, unpaid caregivers spend significant sums out of their own pockets.

2021 AARP study found that unpaid family caregivers spend an average of $7,242 annually. The advocacy group places the economic value of their contributions supporting the adults in their lives at an estimated $600 billion.

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Invisible Army: Caregivers on the Front Lines

This story was produced through the New York & Michigan Solutions Journalism Collaborative, a partnership of news organizations and universities dedicated to rigorous and compelling reporting about successful responses to social problems. The group is supported by the Solutions Journalism Network.

The collaborative’s first series, Invisible Army: Caregivers on the Front Lines, focuses on potential solutions to challenges facing caregivers of older adults. 

Family caregiving responsibilities fall most heavily on women, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study which also identified racial disparities among women with a higher share of Black women taking on caregiving roles in the family for those needing special assistance compared with white women. Caregiving responsibilities have posed a challenge to some women's ability to stay in the workforce.

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AARP's Michigan state director celebrated the forthcoming proposal from Whitmer. "In Michigan, the challenges of caregiving heavily burden our families," Paula Cunningham said in a statement. "The proposed tax credit is a welcome relief for families, easing the financial strain of caregiving with up to $5,000 in tax benefits. This policy is more than financial relief; it's a statement of our values and commitment to the well-being of all Michiganders."

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Lori Stephens-Brown, director of Aging Services of Marquette County similarly welcomes Whitmer's proposed tax credit for caregivers. "This initiative is a crucial step in alleviating the financial and emotional strain on countless caregivers," Stephens-Brown said in a statement. "... It also acknowledges and supports the invaluable, often uncompensated efforts of family caregivers."

Whitmer will deliver her 2024 State of the State Address at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 24. The speech will be broadcast live across the state and can be viewed live online at michigan.gov/StateOfTheState as well as on Whitmer's Facebook page and YouTube channel.

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