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AARP Virginia Kicks Off Voter Engagement Program for Nov. Elections

AARP Virginia’s voter education program is encouraging its 1 million members to reach out to candidates via Twitter during the General Assembly election season this fall. (Adobe stock)
September 9, 2019

RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia is just two months away from electing a new General Assembly, and this week AARP Virginia is launching a voter engagement program to help candidates and people age 50 and older focus on key issues during election season.

This is the first day of the program's initial event, a two-week push advocating for family caregivers in the state.

Natalie Snider, associate state director of advocacy for AARP Virginia, says her group is urging candidates to reconsider a Family Caregiver Tax Credit that was proposed, but not passed during the 2019 General Assembly.

"This would advocate for up to a $1,000 income tax credit each year,” she points out. “So it would be for qualifying taxpayers. Individuals earning $75,000 a year or less would be able to claim that tax credit for 50% of their out-of-pocket expenses up to that $1,000."

Snider says more than 1 million Virginians provide unpaid, daily living care for a loved one at a cost of $7,000 each year out of pocket.

Snider admits that the tax credit does not cover all of most caregivers' expenses, but says it's a step in the right direction.

AARP Virginia also surveyed caregiver voters in the state age 45 and older to address their financial and personal needs.

Snider says that report will be released in mid-September to communicate to candidates and the public what caregivers are really facing.

"Family caregiving is getting more expensive,” she stresses. “It's getting more difficult. Long-term services and supports are more expensive, insurance isn't covering as many things, people are released from hospitals sooner.

“So caregivers take on tasks that they would not previously have been asked to do."

Over the next two months, AARP Virginia's voter engagement campaign also will educate the public and candidates about issues surrounding saving for retirement, prescription drug affordability and student debt.

Snider says voters 50 and older need to know where their candidates stand on important issues to make their own informed choices on Election Day.

Disclosure: AARP Virginia contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Health Issues, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Diane Bernard, Public News Service - VA