There is a local teenage entrepreneur you may have seen around town. His name is Jack. And he sells popcorn. Not just any popcorn but fancy flavors like jalapeno and cinnamon and apple crisp. It’s part of the Doc Popcorn Franchise but he’s made it his own with customer service and a very friendly smile. Jack Rovetti has Down Syndrome but it hasn’t slowed him down a bit. And even at 16 his family is fully pushing for his success.
“With our older kids we knew that if we invested in college they would be able to find jobs and succeed,” says Jack’s mother Diana Rovetti. “But with Jack we feel we’ll be responsible for him for his entire life. And he could easily outlive us. So we want to teach him to take care of himself.”
Jack’s Popcorn Company is doing that. It’s teaching him responsibility and business sense. But no matter how much he makes with it, under current laws his success will be limited.
“When someone has disabilities, the law says that their bank accounts can’t go over $2,000. If they do they lose their government benefits,” Diana says. “Congress is considering the ABLE Act right now and if it passes, accounts could be as high as $100,000 but for now they can’t. While we don’t want him on Social Security, Medicaid will be important to him as an adult. He’ll need insurance, health insurance. And with this business he’ll be able to afford it. But not if the limits are there.”
Diana is not just lobbying for her son, but for the hundreds of other families facing similar situations here having family members with special needs. Nevada’s congressional delegates are fully behind passage of the ABLE Act which is set for a hearing in the House this week. But Diana is urging everyone to contact our delegates and push for the passage before the end of the year.
You can learn more about the ABLE Act by going to their website at www.NDSS.org
By Diana Rovetti, Reno, Nev.
There is nothing a mother wants more for her children than for them to reach their full potential and to live a full, happy life. Right now, because of rules governing Medicaid, it is difficult for me to prepare a strong foundation for my son’s future. My 16-year-old son Jack has Down syndrome and I am not able to save for his future like I can for my other four children.
The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act (H.R. 647/S.313) is currently before Congress and is a bipartisan piece of legislation that will vastly improve the lives of millions of people across the country living with disabilities. Currently, I cannot set up a savings account for Jack, because his assets cannot exceed $2,000. In this day and age, $2,000 is not a lot of money. Once the ABLE Act passes, I will be able to save for Jack’s future needs, just like I can for his siblings, without fear.
In September, the Senate Finance Committee passed this bill, making it one step closer to being voted on in the Senate. The House bill is scheduled for floor consideration in early December. Join me in urging Senate Majority Leader Reid and Senator Heller, as well as Representatives Heck, Titus, Amodei and Horsford to help us by doing everything they can to get the ABLE Act across the finish line before Congress adjourns this year. We need our elected officials to know how important this bill is to Americans with disabilities, their families, and millions of people across the United States.
The ABLE Act will amend the 529 section of the IRS tax code that will allow for a tax-free savings account to be created, without fear of the penalty of losing government issued benefits that Jack will need in the future.
Because of medical advances, many people with Down syndrome and other disabilities are now outliving their parents. The ABLE act would allow my husband and I to save and plan for Jack’s future expenses without Jack risking loss of Medicaid benefits. This is very important for Jack and our family. We do not want our four daughters to be burdened with worrying about Jack’s future expenses.
Just because my son has Down syndrome, this should not prevent him from achieving his goals. Jack is actively involved in our community and wants to live a full life, go to college, work hard, contribute to our community, and be able to live in his own home. However, because of the outdated laws placed on individuals with disabilities, people like my son are currently being held back in life.
For my son and millions of others living with disabilities in Nevada and around this country, I ask that Sen. Reid bring this critical legislation to the Senate floor without delay.