The State Comptroller announced New York has joined 28 other states in offering a program that will help people with disabled children save money for their future.
The program is modeled on the college savings program, which is also operated by the Comptroller’s office. It allows an account to be set up in the name of any New Yorker diagnosed with a disability before the age of 26.
Friends and relatives can contribute up to $14,000 a year for a total of $100,000. The money can be used tax free to help pay for the disabled person’s education, housing, transportation and other expenses.
Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said the program is even more important now, with uncertainty over what President Trump and Congress may do to repeal or change the Affordable Care Act.
“There’s so much anxiety because of the uncertainty at the federal level,” DiNapoli said, “Especially for those who depend on support from government.”
The Comptroller said he hopes the program can help allay some of those fears.
Jim Vaccaro set up a fund for his four-year-old son Matthew, who has Down syndrome. He said it is a more realistic alternative than setting up a trust fund, which he said requires an upfront investment of at least $10,000, plus taxes.
Vaccaro said the savings account gives him “peace of mind.”
“Matthew will have more independence, greater financial security and a better quality of life,” Vaccaro said. “Something every parent wants for their child.”
The money in the savings account will not count against a person’s eligibility for supplemental security income. However, the federal Medicare and Medicaid systems have not yet ruled on whether the savings account money might count against a person’s eligibility for government health care services.