Tax credits proposed for elderly parents' care

Congressman Steve Israel talks to seniors Anthony Ciuffo, Congressman Steve Israel talks to seniors Anthony Ciuffo, left, and John Turano, at the Gurwin Jewish Residence in Commack on Feb. 24, 2014. Photo Credit: James Carbone

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Children caring for elderly parents would get up to a $1,200 tax credit even if the seniors are living on their own or in an assisted living facility, according to a proposal released Monday by Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington).

If approved by Congress, Israel said the change would close "an act of discrimination in our tax code."

Israel, at a news conference at Gurwin Jewish Residences in Commack, said the tax code "has to adjust to the realities of demographics." He called those caring for elderly relatives while trying to pay for their children's colleges members of the "sandwich generation."

He acknowledged it will be difficult to get the legislation passed in the House of Representatives, which is controlled by Republicans.

"It's going to be very hard," he said.

Speaker John Boehner's office did not respond to a request for comment.

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Under current law, tax filers can only claim a tax credit for elderly parents or in-laws who live with them, even if children pay a significant amount toward the care of their parents.

Stephen Goldfarb, 64, of Jericho, said he will have to start using his savings to help pay for full-time caregivers of his 94-year-old mother, Goldie, who lives in Boca Raton, Fla.

"Keeping her at home is much better than at a nursing home," Goldfarb said. He said his mother's savings are now spent.

"It will be more difficult," he said.

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