New NC savings accounts to help disabled

Posted August 11, 2015

— U.S. Sen. Richard Burr says North Carolina's participation in a federal program permitting special savings accounts will help unlock opportunities for people with disabilities.

Speaking Tuesday when Gov. Pat McCrory signed legislation creating the state's ABLE Trust Fund, or Achieving a Better Life Experience, Burr said the program will also ease the worries of caregivers about providing for future needs.

"When we see an individual with disabilities, we automatically think of what they cannot do versus the great gifts they were given and the great possibilities of what they can accomplish," Burr said.

North Carolina's senior Republican senator helped get through Congress a law allowing all states to set up the funds.

People with disabilities and their families will able to save up to $14,000 a year without losing their Medicaid or disability coverage. They can use that money for housing, transportation, even job training. Money made by the accounts also isn't subject to federal tax if used for eligible services.

"ABLE accounts will give North Carolinians with disabilities increased choice, independence and opportunities to participate fully in their communities," McCrory said.

North Carolina is the 30th state to enact ABLE accounts, and the new law will take effect as soon as the State Treasurer's Office can get the new accounts set up.

Betsy MacMichael said she hopes an ABLE account will allow her daughter get a job and be able to live on her own without sacrificing the services she needs for cerebral palsy.

"She can't really save very much money at all, and we can't contribute very much money to her without her losing her benefits," MacMichael said of current restrictions.

Jason and Bonita Moon, whose 2-year-old son has autism, said an account would help meet his needs as an adult.

"It gives a relief that we'll be able to possibly put some money away for when we're not here," Bonita Moon said.


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