Minnesota has launched new savings accounts that could help lift hundreds of people with disabilities out of poverty. Minnesota was among the first in the nation to do so.
"It is an opportunity for people to both save and spend in ways that they can control," said Claire Wilson with the Minnesota Department of Human Services. "It is the right thing to do. It is the right thing for people with disabilities in their families."
Modeled after 529 college savings plans, the so-called ABLE accounts gives people with disabilities the option of investing into tax free accounts without losing public benefits.
"It is designed to be a ladder out of poverty," Wilson said. "Or a way for a young person to avoid that down the line."
ABLE allows people with disabilities to put as much as $14,000 a year into a savings account, with a total cap of $100,000. Plymouth resident John Hetterick was active in getting ABLE legislation passed.
"It could go for any purpose," Hettrick said. "It could be transportation. It could be housing. It could be medical equipment. It could be medical treatment. All of that would be tax free."
Hettrick's daughter, Sara, has a cognitive disability. He believes Sara and many others will benefit greatly from the new savings accounts.
"Without some sort of protection for her, if we were hit buy a bus tomorrow, there would be nobody to take care of her financial needs." Hettrick said. "We learned that my daughter had a developmental disability when she was 4 years old. Had ABLE accounts been available then we could have put money away."
Many states have followed Minnesota's lead. Approximately 40 have ABLE accounts.
Eric Nelson, firstname.lastname@example.org