ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) – Dr. Colleen Fogarty, Chair of the University of Rochester’s Department of Family Medicine, knows all about how tax breaks and broadband access are related to health benefits.
“The Earned Income Tax Credit can give families back at tax time or lower taxes owed, and there is a really important benefit here, especially for the children in these families,” said Dr. Fogarty. “That advantage is that there is access to some additional resources. So if a parent needs to get a child a specific item for their school or other resource that will aid the child’s growth and development, this is an important availability. In healthcare, we know that there are social determinants of health, and for families who don’t have enough money, this can be a huge deterrent from seeing a doctor or engaging in other health-promoting activities. The amount here is up to 6,600 US dollars, depending on the family size, income and marital status of the family. “
Dr. Fogarty added, “These dollars can be spent on local or fresh produce or other activities – maybe small sports team fees or things like that that the family can’t normally do.”
To claim the EITC, you will need to file a tax return.
When it comes to broadband access, Dr. Fogarty that efforts to make the Internet more widely available are critical to the overall health of a family.
“For children in this pandemic era who had to be on zoom for school, we know that the primary role of children, if you will, is to grow, develop and learn. And our education systems enable children to learn and develop. For families with little or no access to broadband, these children really got stuck with no educational opportunities. So that’s an advantage. The other advantage is that the availability of information nowadays is known to be highly dependent on the Internet. So, someone who has access to look up medical information – some health information – or actually go to the patient portal and access their own health team, look up their own labs – a parent who suddenly needs vaccination dates for something that is due in the Schools can log into their children’s health records and print out their vaccination cards. Again, broadband really enables people to learn, grow and thrive in healthcare too. “
More information about the Emergency broadband benefit is available online.