Tax-exempt savings accounts coming for people with disabilities

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CHAMPAIGN--For parents like Sarah Thompson, making sure their children are taken care of can be a daunting thought.

"As I get older and he gets older that becomes more of a concern," said Thompson.

Sarah's son was born prematurely, leaving him with an array of special needs that require constant care and take a financial toll on their family.

"We've had bumps and tears and laughs, good times, bad times," said Thompson.

This summer was an especially good time for the Thompsons because the Illinois General Assembly passed the ABLE Act, which will allow Sarah, and other families with disabled members, to set up long-term savings accounts for their care that won't be taxed.

"Basically it just takes a little of that burden off their backs," said state Senator Scott Bennett, D-Champaign.

Bennett sponsored the bill, which was a bi-partisan effort, even though it offers a tax break.

"I had people say, you know I'm going to have to oppose this," said Bennett. "Once I sat down with them and went down what this bill actually did, they ended up signing on as cosponsors."

Illinois State Treasurer Mike Frerichs is in charge of implementing the law so ABLE accounts can be established, after the U.S. Treasury Department finalizes the regulations.

"We think about a year from now hopefully, families will be able to start putting aside and saving for their special children's futures," said Frerichs.

Thompson says her family will be the first in line.

"If this is just one less thing that can be taken off the list, and it's a positive thing, then sign me up," said Thompson.

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