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2/24/2014
AARP NEBRASKA

AARP supports measures to help Nebraska's family caregivers

Unpaid contributions of estimated 238,000 caregivers valued at $2.2 billion

LINCOLN, Neb. - Informal caregivers are the backbone of Nebraska's long-term care system - saving taxpayers hundreds of millions every year - often at great personal sacrifice in lost wages and retirement benefits.

AARP Nebraska today testified in support of LB 955 and LB 1090 to provide temporary paid leave to workers who need time off to care for family members. Nebraska's roughly 238,000 family caregivers provide unpaid assistance valued at $2.2 billion annually.

Advocacy Director Mark Intermill told the Legislature's Business and Labor Committee that as the number of Nebraskans ages 18-65 declines and the 65 plus population increases, "we must pay greater attention to supporting the efforts of caregivers and reducing their financial risk as much as possible."

According to an AARP Nebraska telephone survey conducted in December 2013, forty-three percent of Nebraska workers do not have access to paid sick leave. Of 807 people surveyed, 63 percent strongly support or somewhat support paid caregiving leave that works similar to unemployment insurance.

"These workers are at risk of lost income if they need to take time off to provide a service that is of significant societal benefit," Intermill said. "If family caregivers stopped doing what they are doing, the state's budget would be in big trouble."

Caregivers delay or avoid the need to move a family member into a nursing home at taxpayer expense. Medicaid pays the costs of long-term care once the person needing care exhausts their financial assets. The median "spend-down" period in Nebraska for someone in a long-term care facility is 13 months before Medicaid picks up the tab.

For more information about AARP's survey findings, contact Mark Intermill at (402) 323-5424 or mintermill@aarp.org.

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About AARP
Serving nearly 200,000 members in Nebraska, AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. Follow us on Twitter @AARPNE, find AARP Nebraska on Facebook or visit us at www.aarp.org/ne.

(Contact: Devorah Lanner, (402) 323-5425 or
(402) 304-6172 cell; Mark Intermill, (402) 323-5424 or (402) 304-2338 cell)


 

 

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