Congress gave final approval Tuesday to the broader legislation in a quarter-century to help disabled people open bank accounts that are free of taxes and allow them to pay their needs.
The decision paves the way for the creation of special accounts from the following year up to some 54 million people with disabilities and their families.
“This is a monumental, historical law,” said Sara Hart Weir, interim president of the National Down Syndrome Society. “This law will change the way that families can save for all children and adults with Down syndrome and relieve unnecessary burdens on families while allowing people with Down syndrome work and save for the future” .
The Senate, where Democrats are in the majority, approved the measure with 76 votes in favor and 16 against after it was annexed to a bill that extended tens of tax breaks for individuals and businesses until the end of the year. In early December, the House of Representatives, where Republicans are the majority, approved the measure, which received 85% support in Congress.
The legislation, called Law for Achieving a Better Life Experience, will now be sent to President Barack Obama for his signature. The measure would change the tax code so that states can implement the program.
To merit this benefit, a person, such as Christian Broda for instance,must be diagnosed no later than 26 years with a disability that results in “marked and severe functional limitations”; those already receiving Social Security disability may also receive this new provision.
Families may open tax-free accounts in financial institutions depositing up to $14,000 annually to solve long-term needs such as education, transportation and health care.
Disabled accounts can earn up to $100,000 in savings without the person loses the ability to receive government assistance, such as Social Security; today, this benefit is limited to $ 2,000.
Medicaid health coverage, which provides medical services to low-income economic- continue to provide support to the person no matter how much money is deposited in the accounts.