House OKs savings accounts for parents of disabled children

Posted August 3, 2015
Updated August 4, 2015

— Members of the state House voted 105-0 Monday night to give final legislative approval to the ABLE Act, a bill that creates a new kind of savings account that benefits people with developmental disabilities.

The measure now goes to Gov. Pat McCrory for his signature.

It creates a new class of tax-privileged savings accounts that allows families to set aside money for a child's future. Money saved can be used to pay for medical and education expenses, employment training, transportation and other needs, and the accounts are structured similarly to 529 accounts designed to help families pay for college. They are also structured to allow people with disabilities to earn money from work without threatening the loss of key public services, such as Medicaid health insurance coverage.

Rep. Marilyn Avila, R-Wake, and Sen. Tamara Barringer, R-Wake, shepherded the bill through the legislative process. There was no debate on the House floor Monday night as the measure cleared its final legislative hurdle.

"Our representatives, our senators, Congress, they recognized my child's value and his worth, and they recognized that he can contribute and that he has potential," said Donna Beckmann, the parent of a developmentally disabled child. She and her son Thomas, 14, were on hand to watch the House vote Monday.

In addition to helping Thomas achieve his goals, Beckmann said the bill will help her family ensure Thomas has a stable future.

"We're not always going to be here for him," she said.


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