Special savings accounts for the disabled will help save for their future

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The North Carolina General Assembly is taking steps to implement the ABLE Act, the Achieving A Better Life Experience program trust.

When implemented, people with disabilities can start saving up to move out of mom and dad's house, buy a car or many other things.

In December, President Barack Obama signed the Achieving a Better Life Experience. The federal law allows people with disabilities to open a special, tax-free savings account.

Prior to this federal law, disabled individuals could not have more than $2,000 in savings without risking government benefits like Medicaid or Social Security. Federal law now allows them to save up to $100,000 and still receive their benefits.

Each state has to put regulations in place, which is where North Carolina is at now. This week the bill is in the General Assembly. It’s already passed through the House and is expected to pass through the Senate this week.

People who have loved ones with disabilities say this is a huge step in allowing those with special needs to save towards living independent lives.

Stephanie Antkowiak has two children, ages 16 and 14, who have autism. She sees the benefit this will have for her children long term.

“They’ll be able to look for competitive jobs, with a competitive pay, and put aside some of it to save.” Antkowiak said. “And we won’t have to worry about them losing their benefits. They can save up for what they need.”

Money in the account can be used to pay for housing, health care, education and much more. These accounts apply to people who have been diagnosed with their disability before the age of 26.