Proposed Tax Credit

Steve Israel, a Democrat in the House of Representatives from Huntington, New York, has proposed that children who care for elderly parents should receive a $1,200 tax credit from the federal government. This would apply if the seniors are living on their own, or in an assisted living facility. Representative Israel claims if Congress approves this new statute, it would change what is currently “an act of discrimination in our tax code.” Representative Israel, at a recent news conference, stated the tax code “has to adjust to the realities of demographics.”

Under the current income tax code, individuals who file taxes can only take a tax credit for elderly parents or in-laws who are actually living with them. This is true even if the children are paying a significant amount of the money to maintain and take care of their elderly parents or in-laws.
Most children realize their parents will do better if they can be maintained at their home or the children’s home instead of being placed in a nursing home. There is concern that putting seniors in a nursing home will rob them of their individuality and dignity.


Representative Israel’s recommendation is wonderful. There is a growing senior population in the United States and sometimes the financial burden of maintaining the seniors falls on their children or other loved ones. This would help provide a reasonable tax benefit to children or other loved ones taking care of sick or infirm family members.

However, the reality of the current situation in Congress is this is unlikely to pass. The House of Representatives is controlled by Speaker John Boehner, who is a Republican. Representative Steven Israel is a Democrat. In most cases, the Republican majority is not going along with any of the significant suggestions made by Democrats, no matter how thoughtful or reasonable they may be.

estate planning help for seniorsElliot Schlissel is an elder law attorney representing seniors and their families regarding all types of estate planning, probate issues, and drafting wills and trusts.