Steven Mendelsohn, J.D., William N. Myhill, M.Ed., J.D., Michael Morris, J.D.
Burton Blatt Institute, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13244, USA
Personal assistance services (PAS) is the term used to describe the range of assistance, services, and supports many people with disabilities and older Americans need to remain in their homes and communities. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that people with disabilities receive essential services in the communities of their choice rather than in institutional settings. PAS availability often determines whether persons with disabilities become institutionalized or remain in their communities. PAS, however, are not inexpensive or broadly available. Strategies are needed to improve their availability to people with disabilities and the elderly. We sought to analyze 8 provisions of the Internal Revenue Code for their utility to make PAS more affordable and available.
The authors conducted a legal analysis of 8 statutory provisions, as interpreted by regulations, court decisions, and other authoritative sources.
Each of the tax provisions analyzed covers some PAS expenses incurred by an individual or family. Favorable tax treatment is impacted by the nature and amount of expenses and by the location and conditions of services. The current limitations and complexities of legal interpretations and the fact that many individuals with disabilities are uninformed about these tax provisions present challenges and opportunities.
As the need for PAS grows, reform of tax policy is an important complement to health care and long-term services and supports for people with disabilities. To increase utilization of current beneficial tax provisions that subsidize the cost of PAS, individuals with disabilities and tax preparers must become better informed about using these provisions.