State Treasurer Don Stenberg says proposed federal regulations could undermine a savings program for disabled Americans.
It’s called the ABLE program, a savings account patterned after the popular college savings accounts, only for the disabled. ABLE is the acronym for Achieving a Better Life Experience Act.
Proposed federal regulations would require the disabled to file paperwork with the state to prove an expense is qualified before making a withdrawal.
“I just think this is an unreasonable and unnecessary burden on persons with disabilities,” Stenberg tells Nebraska Radio Network. “The federal government does not have this same requirement for our college savings accounts.”
Congress created the ABLE accounts in 2014. ABLE accounts are similar to the college savings plans, also created under Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code. The program provides a tax break for qualified expenses.
The Unicameral approved a state program under LB 591, sponsored by Sen. Kate Bolz of Lincoln. The state Treasurer is trustee of the ABLE program.
Stenberg sees the proposed step as unnecessary.
“What we’re saying is they shouldn’t have to provide all that paperwork to the state of Nebraska before they can use money from their own account,” Stenberg says. “We don’t impose that on other taxpayers, I don’t think we should impose it on individuals with disabilities, either.”
Stenberg says the regulations would drive up costs and discouraged the disabled from opening an account.
Stenberg encourages advocates for the disabled to protest the proposed regulations by submitting comments to the United States Treasury Department as well as write their U.S. Senators and members of the House of Representatives.
Stenberg says public comments should be sent to the following address:
CC:PA:LPD:PR (REG-102837-15), Room 5203, Internal Revenue Service, P.O. Box 7604, Ben Franklin Station, Washington, D.C. 20044.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:60]A