Cathy Martinez said her family spent more than $300,000 out of pocket over a four-year period on treatments and services for her severely autistic son, and she worried that the financial resources available to him in adulthood, such as Medicaid and Social Security disability payments, wouldn’t come close to covering his living and care expenses.
Brandon Verzal, whose daughter sustained a traumatic brain injury at the hands of a daycare provider when she was 14 months old, said, “I don’t think there’s anything I lose more sleep over,” than imagining what will happen to his daughter when shes 20 or 30 or 40 years old.”
Martinez and Verzal both will have another option by the end of the month.
Nebraska Treasurer Don Stenberg announced Wednesday that the state’s first Enable Savings Plan will be available June 30.
The Legislature last year passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience law, which authorized the accounts to allow children and adults with qualifying disabilities in Nebraska to save and invest money without jeopardizing their eligibility for government benefits. Federal legislation in 2014 paved the way for such accounts.
Up until now, adults with disabilities receiving government benefits could have no more than $2,000 in a savings account.
The Enable accounts are similar to 529 accounts for education savings. Money is contributed on an after-tax basis and then grows tax free. Distributions are tax free as long as they are used for qualifying expenses.
Participants can save as much as $100,000 without losing eligibility for Social Security disability benefits.
First National Bank of Nebraska is the program manager for the accounts, and David Cota, an executive vice president at the bank, said it has had considerable interest in the accounts, not just in Nebraska but nationally.
“We believe signups are going to be meaningful and significant,” Cota said.
Nebraska is the third state, after Ohio and Tennessee, to offer the accounts.
To learn more about Enable accounts, go to:http://enablesavings.com/.