PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — There are 1.3 million family caregivers in Illinois alone, and 48 million in America. That’s 10.3% of people in Illinois who aren’t given a penny for the hard work and expenses they may have along the way. In the United States, caregivers’ time dedicated to helping totals up to 36 billion hours.

The AARP is urging lawmakers to pass the Illinois Family Caregiver Income Tax Credit. With 60% of family caregivers working either full or part-time jobs, and 30% living with a child or grandchild, AARP believes they need and deserve more assistance from the city, state, and federal governments.

Family caregivers take on financial challenges, as well as physical and emotional difficulties. Those difficulties can include helping older loved ones with bathing, dressing, meal preparation, medical tasks, paying bills, providing transportation, and more.

Those financial pressures aren’t something most people budget or plan for, either. AARP reported that eight out of ten caregivers pay more than $7,000 annually in out-of-pocket expenses.

“I pay and I put money aside for possibly my own retirement or even a new vehicle someday or a used vehicle. I’m not putting money away to pay for my parents, wheelchairs, or their home modifications,” said the Senior Associate State Director for AARP Illinois, Lori Hendren. “Those are unexpected, almost panic expenses. So, if you do take those on, this is a modest credit back on your income taxes.”

Passing this bill into law would provide up to $1,500 of non-refundable income tax credit to family members taking care of loved ones.

Hendren explained family caregivers are spending up to $21 billion in Illinois, along with the stress that comes along with the job.

To make sure every tax claim is legitimate, caregivers’ expenses would be sent to the Department of Aging, so they can certify the information.