Representative Kuster talks of her families struggle with Alzheimer’s however this bill would apply to those who are caring for people suffering from Pulmonary Fibrosis as well.
WASHINGTON, DC – On the heels of Alzheimer’s awareness month, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) has helped introduced legislation that would provide support for individuals acting as caregivers for ill family members or other chronically dependent individuals. The Social Security Caregiver Credit Act would increase Social Security benefits for qualifying caregivers who spend more than 80 hours per month providing care to their loved ones.
Caregivers are often overlooked in the discussion of how to address and prevent long-term chronic illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease. However, many caregivers are forced to miss work or take unpaid leave, which places a severe financial strain on their families. Kuster has long-supported efforts and programs to help ease this burden on caregivers.
“As someone who served as a caregiver for my mother when she suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, I understand firsthand the challenges caregivers face when a loved one or dependent becomes chronically ill. I was lucky enough to also have the support of my family, but many individuals face these challenges alone, and the financial burden of missed work can be truly crippling,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “We must ensure that every caregiver has the support and resources they need to provide care for their ill loved ones and fellow Granite Staters who need the help, and that’s why I was proud to help introduce the Social Security Caregiver Credit Act, which will provide a crucial credit to long-term caregivers.”
The Social Security Caregiver Credit Act would be particularly beneficial to women, who make up 66 percent of unpaid caregivers and who are more likely to care for patients suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia. Providing caregivers with this credit would help recognize their positive societal contribution, and would improve their retirement security by boosting their Social Security benefits.
Congresswoman Annie Kuster’s mother was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2001, and Kuster spent the next four years caring for her alongside her family. Kuster and her mother co-wrote a book entitled, “The Last Dance: Facing Alzheimer’s with Love and Laughter” to detail their experience with Alzheimer’s. Kuster continues to advocate in Congress for increased research funding and programs to support Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers.