Detroit Today: Whitmer’s proposed tax credit for caregivers could help Michigan families

The proposed “Caring for MI Family Tax Credit” is expected to be a major focus during Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s State of the State address on Wednesday.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

A new proposed tax credit from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer would provide up to $5,000 in relief to caregivers in the state.

Advocates suggest the relief would be especially helpful for members of the “sandwich” generation — working adults who care for their minor children, while simultaneously serving as the primary caregiver for aging parents and the challenges they face with conditions like dementia.

Danielle Atkinson, founding director of Mothering Justice, joined Stephen Henderson on Detroit Today Wednesday to discuss why her organization is supportive of the proposal. Wayne State University Assistant Professor Amanda Leggett also joined the conversation to detail her research into the “sandwich” generation, including what makes their caretaking challenges unique and ways we can help reduce the burden.

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Danielle Atkinson is the founding director of Mothering Justice. She says while more support is needed, a caregiver tax credit would go a long way in helping Michigan families.

“We, on average, spend $7,242 on expenses for taking care of someone else, other than our children,” said Atkinson. “And 78% of caregivers are paying that out-of-pocket.”

Amanda Leggett is an assistant professor in the Institute of Gerontology and Department of Psychology at Wayne State University. She says things like tax credits and support services are important for caregivers to help provide them some reprieve from the numerous daily tasks they often face.

“One of the common phrases that we say in caregiving is you can’t pour from an empty cup,” said Leggett. “You have to care for yourself, as well, or you can’t be a great caregiver.”

Listen to Detroit Today with host Stephen Henderson weekdays from 9-10 a.m. ET on 101.9 WDET and streaming on-demand.

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    Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.