A new savings plan providing tax breaks for families caring for disabled loved ones goes into effect today.
The program is called the Enable Savings Plan, sponsored in the Unicameral by Sen. Kate Bolz of Lincoln.
“I’m immensely proud of this piece of legislation and of all the hard work that has been done by the Treasurer’s office and First National to implement it in a way that really matches our vision,” Bolz says. “And our vision for this piece of legislation was to promote equality and the American dream.”
The Unicameral approved the Enable Savings Plan program in the 2015 legislative session. The accounts provide a tax shelter for families seeking to save to pay for the everyday expenses of caring for a disabled loved one. Individuals can take advantage of the plans as well. The money accumulated in the special savings accounts also do not jeopardize Social Security or Medicaid benefits.
Though established in Nebraska, the accounts are available to anyone qualifying throughout the United States.
Cathy Martinez, a small business owner and mother of four in Lincoln says her family will open an account for their 2-year-old severely Autistic son.
“By definition, the word able means, ‘having the opportunity,’ the word enable means, ‘to allow,’” Martinez says. “Enable accounts will allow those with special needs the opportunity to have a better life.”
Martinez says she and her husband spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on the care of their son and had looked into opening a special needs trust, but the $3,000 price tag to set up such an account was too steep.
First National Bank of Omaha will administer the Enable accounts. It will charge a $45 annual fee. State Treasurer Don Stenberg will act as the trustee of the accounts.
An official launch party is taking place at Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha today.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]