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Financial Planning > Tax Planning

LTCI Watch: The caregiving council

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Sure, every life is precious. Some things are much more important than money… etc., etc.

But it often takes a lot of money to be a family caregiver or to provide meaningful support for family caregivers. 

The bipartisan team of lawmakers that introduced S. 1719 and H.R. 3099, the Recognize, Assistant, Include, Support and Engage Family (RAISE) Caregivers Act bill, want to create a permanent caregiving advisory council that would help the secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) develop, and update, a national caregiving strategy document.

The drafters of the bills have included a long list of people, or types of people, who ought to be on the council, including either the secretary of the Treasury or the Treasury secretary’s designee.

But, even though the national caregiving strategy is supposed to try to do something about family caregivers’ financial security, the bill does not specifically call for any of the council members to be tax preparers, accountants, financial planners, actuaries or insurance company underwriters or benefits managers.

See also: Sebelius: Current CLASS Structure Not Viable

The council could come up with wonderful, creative caregiver support strategies without really understanding what went wrong, or right, when private insurers tried similar strategies 10 or 20 years ago.

The council might miss cheap, simple opportunities to clear up caregivers’ confusion about public health benefits programs, or they might develop tax credits or other support mechanisms that are too complicated for many exhausted family caregivers to actually use, simply because the council lacks any built-in financial services expertise.

See also: Hillary Clinton latches on to caregiver support issue

Maybe lawmakers could add the expertise without making the council too big, by creating a financial services subcouncil seat. Have the individual in that seat speak for a subcouncil that includes tax experts, accounting experts, financial planners, real estate experts, insurance industry representatives and other professionals that might be relevant to meeting family caregivers’ needs.


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