TRENTON – The Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee unanimously approved legislation sponsored by Senator Fred Madden, D-Gloucester and Camden, to reduce the financial hardship experienced by living organ donors during recovery from surgery.
The bill, S-785, would allow organ donors to claim a tax deduction against their gross state income of up to $10,000 for unreimbursed travel or lodging expenses, or lost wages, related to the organ donation.
“Thousands of people in New Jersey, many whose lives are hanging in the balance, are awaiting organ donations. If we can provide some small financial relief to those who selflessly undergo surgery to save a life, we should. It could mean the difference between life and death for someone in dire need of an organ transplant,” said Senator Madden.
In New Jersey, more than 4,000 people are awaiting an organ transplant, according to the NJ Sharing Network, a non-profit, federally-certified, state-approved organ procurement organization. Nationwide, the number of people on waiting lists for an organ transplant exceeds 105,000, according to the network, and more than 6,500 people die each year while waiting.
“My hope is that this bill helps to remove obstacles for people who may want to donate an organ to help a loved one, or a fellow citizen, but could be prevented from doing so because of the financial burden the time away from work, travel or other expenses would cause,” added Senator Madden.
The deduction would be applicable for procedures to donate part of a liver or bone marrow, or all or part of a lung or a kidney. Under the bill, an individual would be eligible to take the deduction once, during the taxable year the surgery occurs, and would have to be a full-time resident at the time of the donation.
The Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee approved the bill Thursday by a vote of 9-0. It now heads to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for consideration.