President Barack Obama appears ready to announce a set of new initiatives in his State of the Union address to help America’s Sandwich Generation, people caring for both their children and their parents. The initiatives are part of Obama’s White House Middle Class Task Force, which also includes elements designed to create jobs and address the federal deficit. Specific to caregiving, Obama’s plan will call for $102.5 million Caregiver Initiative that will include:
- $52.5 million in funds to the Department of Health and Human Services caregiver support program to allow for temporary respite care, counseling, training and referrals to critical services. These are services typically offered through Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) and organizations that conduct AAA activities.
- $50 million to programs that provide transportation help, adult day care, and in-home services like personal assistance, bathing, cooking, etc. to help elders stay in their homes longer.
If funds in the first bullet follow the traditional pattern, AAAs will receive additional funds to expand outreach services to caregivers and funds to cover respite costs for those unable to afford it. How funds in the second bullet get dispersed and administered is yet to be determined.
Other, unrelated initiatives Obama will propose include:
- Double the credit for middle-class families making under $85,000 per year by increasing their credit rate from 20% to 35% of child care expenses. Families could claim up to $3,000 in expenses per child.
- Limit student loan payments to 10% of Discretionary Income.
- Make student loans more affordable by limiting a borrower’s payment to 10% of his or her income above a basic living allowance.
- Additional student loan expansion and assistance.
- Simplify and expand the saver’s credit to match 50% of the first $1,000 of contributions by families earning up to $65,000 and partial credit to families earning up to $85,000.
- 401k initiatives and reforms.