Legislation would increase funding for Alzheimer’s research and caregiver support services, offering an option to make voluntary contributions through federal income tax returns 

WASHINGTON, D.C.  This week, Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Congressman Tom Suozzi (D-NY), and Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease Co-Chairs Maxine Waters (D-CA), and Chris Smith (R-NJ) introduced the bipartisan Alzheimer's Research and Caregiving (ARC) Trust Fund Act to provide additional funding to federal Alzheimer’s research efforts and caregiver support services.

“Alzheimer’s remains a leading cause of death in the United States, afflicting five million Americans - a number which could rise to 16-million by the year 2050,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick. “I am committed to funding groundbreaking Alzheimer’s research and serving all Americans either afflicted or the families of those suffering from the devastating effects of this disease through the bipartisan Alzheimer's Research and Caregiving (ARC) Trust Fund Act. The time to act is now.”

“Alzheimer’s is devastating to so many families. This bipartisan legislation would enable Americans committed to tackling this disease to contribute toward its cure. I am proud to stand with Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick and my colleagues on the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimers Disease today in support of this bipartisan legislation to create the Alzheimer’s Research and Caregiving (ARC) Trust Fund to fund research and caregiver support services. This is a responsibility we all share and something that folks on both sides of the aisle should get behind,” said Congressman Suozzi.

 “As the Co-Chair of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease, I am proud to cosponsor the ARC Trust Fund Act,” said Congresswoman Maxine Waters. “This bill will give taxpayers an opportunity to contribute to both Alzheimer’s research at the National Institutes of Health and Alzheimer’s caregiver services at the Administration for Community Living. I have been working to expand both of these critical programs for Alzheimer’s patients and their families, and I strongly support enabling taxpayers to contribute to these efforts.”

“So many of us have a family member or know a loved one who is suffering from the heartbreaking effects of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Congressman Chris Smith. “With such an urgent need for assistance, every bit of funding is essential for more robust research and support for caregivers—who are primarily family members—to help provide more effective care for patients and the resources necessary to overcome the challenges presented by this dreaded disease. This bipartisan legislation will provide additional funds to help those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers as we continue working towards improved treatment and, one day, a cure.”

Under the legislation, which was introduced on what would have been the 157th birthday of Alois Alzheimer, the psychiatrist and neuropathologist who first described the disease that would bear his name more than 100 years ago, taxpayers would have the option to make voluntary contributions to the ARC Trust Fund through their federal income tax returns.  Of the funds raised, half would be provided to the National Institutes for Health (NIH) for clinical research into a cure or disease-modifying treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. The remaining half would be appropriated to the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to fund services and supports for those living with dementia-related illnesses and their caregivers.

The ARC Trust Fund would supplement, not supplant, existing federal funding to both NIH and ACL for the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. 

The legislation is similar to laws enacted in New York and 29 other states which allow taxpayers to make voluntary contributions to different causes through their income tax returns. Since 1976, federal tax returns have allowed taxpayers to contribute to the Presidential Election Campaign Fund to help finance political campaigns, but has not allowed them to donate to fund ground breaking research on different causes – such as Alzheimer’s research. This legislation would change that.

Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and the only one in the top 10 without a cure or disease-modifying treatment.  Currently, more than 5 million people nationwide are living with Alzheimer’s disease. The number of Americans affected by Alzheimer’s disease is expected to nearly triple by 2060, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Nationwide, the death rate from Alzheimer’s disease grew by 55% between 1999 and 2014, according to the CDC.

 “The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America is pleased to strongly support the work of Congressman Suozzi, Congressman Fitzpatrick, Congresswoman Waters and Congressman Smith on this important bipartisan legislation,” said Alzheimer’s Foundation of America President & CEO Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. “Families affected by Alzheimer’s disease need care and support today and hope for the future. This legislation would address both of those needs by delivering additional funding for Alzheimer’s research and caregiver support services. We thank our federal representatives for continuing to work in a bipartisan manner to address the growing public health crisis of Alzheimer’s disease.”

Supporting Organizations include Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, Friends of the National Institute on Aging, Alliance for Aging Research, and UsAgainstAlzheimer’s.