Kudos to Kansas State Treasurer Ron Estes and state lawmakers for their part in legislation designed to help families with children who have disabilities.
Estes worked with bill sponsor Rep. Erin David, R-Olathe, toward passage of a measure that allows families to create a tax-free savings account, one similar to the state’s college savings plan, for current and future disability-related expenses of persons with disabilities.
By establishing the savings accounts, relatives and others may contribute up to $14,000 a year toward future support and assistance for those who are younger than 26 and meet Social Security disability standards, or who have been certified as having a disability.
Creating such savings is critical for families of children with developmental disabilities likely to outlive their parents.
Participants in the new savings program established by the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act may save up to $100,000. Money invested is to be used for future expenses such as housing, education and transportation.
One plus is in being able to contribute to the savings account without losing government benefits.
For his work on the ABLE Act, Estes recently was honored by the National Down Syndrome Society as part of Down Syndrome Awareness Month. The recognition also was an important way to enhance understanding of a condition that affects about 400,000 Americans, according to the National Down Syndrome Society.
Passage in 2015 of the ABLE Act put Kansas in line with a federal version previously signed by President Obama. The program is set to launch before the end of the 2016 calendar year.
The Kansas bill saw strong bipartisan support in the Legislature, and was signed by Gov. Sam Brownback.
At a time much attention has been focused on negative policies emanating from the Statehouse — and there’s been plenty, to the detriment of many — it’s necessary to note positive gains when they occur.
A Legislature now dominated by the far right too often embraces shortsighted stands that hurt vulnerable Kansans. Blocking Medicaid expansion would be a prime example.
Consider the ABLE Act a responsible, caring move in a state that must do more to help Kansans in need.