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Minnesotans With Disabilities Pleased With New Law

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - The ABLE Act is hoping to help people with disabilities "Achieve A Better Life Experience" by setting up tax advantages savings accounts, similar to college savings plans.

On Monday Sen. Amy Klobuchar visited the Hammer Residences Kentucky Home, where families had a chance to thank her for her support of the act.

Families say this support is a life line because raising a child with disabilities is astronomically more expensive.

The average cost of raising someone with autism is $2.4 million dollars.

"It's fantastic as a mother of a child with a disability," said Susan Pedrelli. "She's grown so much, and she needs a lot of support."

Right now, families cannot receive disabilities benefits if they save more than $2,000 in cash savings.

"Often times there's support that's not covered that you need to provide," said Pedrelli. "Trying to do that without going over that asset limit of $2,000 has been a real challenge."

The Able Account allows families to save up to $100,000 and to take money out without extra tax penalties.

That money can be used for expenses like education, housing and anything not covered by insurance.

"The whole idea is to give people with disabilities a better ability to save money," said Klobuchar. "It was one of the best [laws] that happened all year, actually. It's going to help a lot of people."

For politicians and families alike, the Able Act is about much more than just money.

"It's also a show of bipartisan support for the community of people with disabilities," said Klobuchar. "So many times, when people are throwing daggers in Washington, you forget why you're there and who you're supposed to be helping."

"Without this sort of legislation, you really feel alone, you feel like you're in this by yourself," said Pedrelli. "But every little bit helps and counts."

To be eligible for the Able Account, individuals must have a severe disability with an age of onset below 26.

The rules have yet to be written by the IRS, but the hope is to have the Able Account available in 2015.

For more information contact The Arc of Minnesota at 651-523-0823.

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