Support for Spousal Caregivers

10/2019

Subject: Restore Medical Expense Deduction Income Threshold to 7.5%

Dear Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, and Minority Leader McCarthy:

The Well Spouse Association is a national organization of spousal caregivers who care for ill spouses with a wide range of severe chronic illnesses and serious long-term disabling conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, stroke, traumatic brain injury, quadriplegia and more. 

On behalf of the Well Spouse Association, I urge you to restore and make permanent the medical expense deduction income threshold at 7.5%. This threshold reverted to 10% on December 31, 2018—which means that more than 4 million Americans who rely on the medical expense deduction will be blindsided by a substantially lower deduction when they file their 2019 tax returns unless this problem is fixed immediately.

Well Spouses are on the front line of this important issue. For many of us, the medical expense deduction is the only financial assistance we have to help us cope with the enormous economic burden of caring for our Ill Spouses. The cost of long-term care and medical expenses, which can amount to 40-60% of our annual income, is financially catastrophic. To make matters worse, our ill spouses often can’t work, and our own earnings potential is adversely affected by caregiving responsibilities. Medicare and most private health insurance specifically exclude coverage for long-term care. Long-term care insurance is expensive, riddled with exclusions and other limitations, and cannot be purchased for persons who have “pre-existing conditions.” Medicaid is a means-tested program for which many of us have not yet become poor enough to qualify. This leaves us with the medical expense deduction to rely on—and nothing else.

We need S. 110 and H.R. 2073, which would make the 7.5% threshold permanent. Pending adoption of a permanent fix, it is crucial that at least a temporary extension be enacted before December 31.

Thank you for considering the views of the Well Spouse Association on this important matter.

Sincerely,

Bob Mastrogiovanni

President, Well Spouse Association

CC: All members of the House and Senate

 

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Phone: (732) 577-8899