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Updated: ‘Wounded Warriors Caregiver Relief Act’ Advances In State Senate

Update: The legislation won state Senate approval, and now heads to Gov. Chris Christie’s desk for his signature.

Original story: Legislation designed to boost assistance for wounded warriors and their caregivers was recently advanced by a state Senate committee.

The bill, A-450, or the “Wounded Warrior Caregiver Relief Act,” was co-sponsored by state Assemblyman Joe Danielsen (D-17).

The bill would provide an income tax credit for caregivers of certain military veterans with service-connected disabilities, according to a press release from the state Assembly Democrats.

The bill sets the refundable qualified veteran care credit at 100 percent of the service member’s disability compensation or $675, whichever is less, according to the release. To qualify for the credit, a caregiver must:

  • Be related to the service member within the third degree;
  • Share a residence with the service member for at least six months of the year;
  • Have a gross income that does not exceed $100,000 as a joint filer or $50,000 as a single or separate filer.

“These are veterans who have made grave sacrifices for our country, irreparable sacrifices” Danielsen said in the press release. “They deserve our utmost devotion and attention, as do their caregivers, given the enormous responsibilities they have before them. Hopefully this legislation will help ease some of life’s everyday challenges for them.”

The bill was also sponsored by state Assemblymen Vince Mazzeo, Sgt. Bob Andrzejczak, Raj Mukherji, Paul Moriarty, Daniel Benson and Eric Houghtaling. The lawmakers were inspired by a 2014 RAND Corporation study that included a number of  statistics regarding the care of wounded veterans in the post-9/11 era, most notably that an estimated 1.1 million civilians are providing volunteer caregiving services to wounded veterans, according to the release. Meanwhile, the study found that 53 percent of post-9/11 voluntary caregivers have no support network.

The bill, which previously received unanimous Assembly approval, was advanced Jan. 30 by the state Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

 

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