By Amanda Becker
CLINTON, Iowa (Reuters) - U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will on Sunday propose a $6,000 tax credit for costs associated with caring for elderly and disabled family members, and allowing caregivers to accrue Social Security retirement benefits for such work.
The caregiving credit will be the latest in a “range of tax cuts aimed a boosting the take-home pay for middle-class families” that Clinton will announce over the coming weeks, according to a campaign aide.
Clinton, who will appear in Iowa Sunday, has previously announced a tax credit of $2,500 for an individual or $5,000 for a family to cover high healthcare costs and another credit that would cover some of the expense of attending college.
There are about 12 million people in the United States who need long-term care and that number is expected to grow to 27 million by 2050 as the population ages. Clinton’s campaign estimates that the economic value of the unpaid work provided by family caregivers of the aging and disabled was $470 billion in 2013.
Assisting adults caring for their aging parents – often while also raising their own children or helping with grandchildren – has become a theme at Clinton’s campaign stops.
Clinton met New Hampshire resident Keith Thompson before a September appearance. Thompson told the former secretary of state and U.S. senator he sometimes takes his elderly mother with him to his part-time job because they cannot otherwise afford reliable care.
“You know your story is so incredibly moving and it’s also a story for so many people, that’s what I keep finding, everywhere I go,” Clinton told Thompson in a video of the exchange provided by the campaign.
Clinton has cited Thompson’s story frequently since.
Taxes are shaping up to be a differentiator between Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, and her challengers, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley.
Clinton’s campaign says she is committed to not raising but cutting taxes for the middle class and criticized some of Sanders’ proposals, such as his healthcare plan, saying it would necessitate raising taxes on moderate wage earners.
Clinton Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri told reporters “the most important moment” for the campaign during last week’s second Democratic debate was when the three discussed taxing the middle class and to expect Clinton to discuss it more fully in the coming days.
(Reporting By Amanda Becker; editing by Adrian Croft)