By Jenny Luna
Despite cutting millions of dollars to aid the state’s disabled community, Gov. Rick Scott signed a new law Monday that allows individuals with disabilities to boost their savings from $2,000 to $100,000 without jeopardizing their state and federal benefits.
Scott signed the Florida Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act amid students and families of the Marian Center in Miami Gardens, a school for people with disabilities. The law will go into effect by July 1, 2016.
The more celebrated news, however, was that 2,000 people previously on a wait list for a Medicaid waiver from the Agency for Persons with Disabilities will be able to receive care at home instead of being institutionalized. Under the state budget that went effect July 1, $40 million will go toward providing services for these 2,000; 20,000 people are on the wait list.
Acela Ruiz applied for a Medicaid waiver when her son, Devin Feterman, was a toddler. Devin, 9, is on the autism spectrum and in a wheelchair. He will now receive physical and speech therapy.
“We will finally get the services we weren't able to afford before,’’ Ruiz said. She can also buy supplies not covered by private insurance, such as diapers, baby wipes and food.