CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Missouri Governor Jay Nixon visited the Southeast Missouri State University Autism Center in Cape Girardeau on Monday, June 29.
Nixon signed Senate Bill 174 creating the Missouri Achieving a Better Life Experience (Missouri ABLE).
The Missouri ABLE program allows a person with disabilities, or their family, to open a tax-exempt savings account for the purpose of paying expenses related to the disability. This savings account will provide for basic necessities and maintain a better life for thousands of people in Missouri.
During Gov. Nixon's visit, he also thanked Todd Mayfield and his son Elijah who traveled to Washington, D.C. with the National Down Syndrome Society to visit with members of Congress.
Mayfield asked for their support for federal legislation that would then give the states the right to set up these accounts.
"It's very emotional and we are grateful for families that gone before us and have paved the roads. Just in my lifetime, parents with a child with Down syndrome were often told that they should put that child in an institution and tell their family that they passed away. But centers like this one changes their entire trajectory and helps them reach their fullest potential," said Mayfield.
"It's really great from both sides. First of all the treatment that gets done here as well as the education so that treatment is expanded and multiplied back into communities across this region of our state. Vitally important if we're going to get to make sure everyone can live up to their God given potential," said Gov. Nixon.
This program also allows anyone to make a tax-deductible contribution of up to $8,000 for an individual or $16,000 for married couples to another person's Missouri ABLE account.
Missourians with disabilities are eligible to open a Missouri ABLE account if they are also entitled to benefits based on disability or blindness under the Social Security Act, if such blindness it disability occurred prior to turning 26.