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Changing up the tax law for those with disabilities

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: May 05 2014 05:05:16 PM CDT
Updated On: May 05 2014 06:21:15 PM CDT

Saving for the future isn't always easy, but for the families of those with disabilities, it's nearly impossible.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -

Saving for the future isn't always easy, but for the families of those with disabilities, it's nearly impossible.

When the tax code was first established in 1913, it was 400 pages long. Now it's 74,000 pages.

In all that paper there's bound to be some quirks.

Senator Bob Casey is hoping to change that.

Like most parents, Ron Sheppard wants a secure financial future for his 39-year-old daughter Kelly.

"Concern is we're not going to live forever," Sheppard said.

However, because Kelly, who's mentally disabled, relies on medical care from Medicaid, the tax code says she can only have $2,000 in a savings account or become ineligible for services.

"We had grandparents pass away and leave money for Kelly. Now she can't receive those types of support," he went on to explain.

Now Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Casey wants to change up the tax code tune when dealing with the disabled.

"What we are trying to achieve is to get this bill on the floor in both houses and not have amendments," he said.

Casey came to Hanover Township, Lehigh County to tour ARC, a civil rights organization for those with disabilities,

He says the ABLE Act would allow those with disabilities to set up tax advantage savings accounts to pay for their long term care, similar to plans that allow families to pay for higher education.

"As she gets older her needs and wants will continue to grow just like all of ours," Michael Carney said.

Carney's young daughter Olivia has Down Syndrome.

All he wants is the same opportunity for her future that everyone else has.

"ABLE Act itself it's a game changer. It's true to life and creates a better life experience," he said.

As for Sheppard, his daughter Kelly works at the Sands.

He's now hopeful her future won't be left up to chance.

"With Kelly being 39 we have some catching up to do," he said.

Casey says this has bipartisan support and he expects Congress to pass it this month or next.