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Jacksonville Advocates Laud New Law Allowing Tax-Free Saving For Disability Costs

child smiling
David Biasack via Flickr

President Barack Obama has signed into law what’s being called the greatest advance in disability protection in 25 years. Northeast Florida Congressman Ander Crenshaw (R-FL4) has been pushing for passage of the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act, or ABLE Act, for nearly a decade. 

For Debbie Revels’ family, the ABLE Act is a welcome Christmas gift. Revels heads the Down Syndrome Association ofJacksonville, and her 28-year-old son, Nicholas, has the genetic condition.

“He is looking now at moving out and having his own apartment," she says, "and now we can do that, we can save and make that dream a reality for him.”

That’s because the new federal law will allow parents to save up for disability-related expenses with a tax-free account.

Jacksonville-based Congressman Ander Crenshaw has introduced the bill for the past eight years. Crenshaw says people with disabilities should be able to save up like anyone else.

"We allow people to have tax-free savings accounts to save for education. We call those 529 accounts. We allow individuals to have tax-free savings accounts for retirement. That’s called an IRA," Crenshaw says.

He says the ABLE Act passed both houses of Congress with more bipartisan support than any other bill this year.

Jessica Palombo supervises local news gathering and production, podcasts and web editorial content for WJCT News, ADAPT and Jacksonville Today. She is an award-winning writer and journalist with bylines including NPR, Experience Magazine, and The Gainesville Sun. She has a master’s degree in broadcast and digital journalism from Syracuse University and is an alumna of the University of Florida. A nearly lifelong resident of Jacksonville, she considers herself lucky to be raising her own children in her hometown. Follow Jessica Palombo on Twitter: @JaxJessicaP