Tuesday, July 27, 2021


The latest on the PRO Act, which could bring major changes to labor law, especially in "right-to-work" states; and COVID spikes result in new mandates.


Travel restrictions are extended as Delta variant surges; some public-sector employers will mandate vaccines; President Biden says long-haul COVID could be considered a disability; and western wildfires rage.

IA Strengthens Financial Tool for People with Disabilities


Wednesday, June 2, 2021   

MASON CITY, Iowa - Iowa has updated a law that backers say gives more financial flexibility to people living with disabilities. The changes center around a type of savings account.

Gov. Kim Reynolds has signed a measure that modifies language tied to IAble accounts. Family, friends and account holders can contribute to money to the state-run fund without jeopardizing the account holder's eligibility for social-aid programs. The bill removes barriers for transferring money from other special-needs trust funds and protects accounts from being garnished by the state to cover Medicaid expenses.

Lisa Yunek, an advocate from Mason City, said the old rules were adding to some people's hardships.

"We don't do that to people who have college funds, a 529 savings account," she said, "and so, we're giving a more onerous burden on someone with a disability who already has so many barriers in life."

Yunek has an adult daughter with Down syndrome, who is a member of the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council. She said the changes also could benefit a nephew with autism, noting difficulties in accessing benefits after his father's death. The bill won unanimous approval in both the House and Senate, with no stated opposition during the hearing phase.

State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald said adding protections is vital because they allow the IAble accounts to grow without tax burdens. He said that's important for people who often are reliant on Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income, and cut off from other assets.

"These accounts are set up to help them achieve a better life," he said. "Let's say they want to buy equipment so they can drive their car with just hands steering and shifting. That's why they were set up."

The Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council has noted that misinformation is another barrier; many people aren't aware of these accounts, or assume they'd lose eligibility for social services if they enroll. Currently, more than 1,000 Iowans have an IAble account. The average balance is $8,500.

Disclosure: Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council contributes to our fund for reporting on Disabilities, Health Issues, Mental Health. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
Smoke from the Bootleg fire in southern Oregon is blowing across Idaho and as far east as New York. (National Interagency Fire Center/Flickr)


BOISE, Idaho -- Wildfires are affecting air quality across the West, bringing hidden dangers in smoke that can harm people's health. The Boise-based …

Social Issues

DENVER -- The days of exponentially high increases in health-insurance costs may finally be in the rearview mirror. The Colorado Division of …

Social Issues

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Cultural institutions in the U.S. are facing scrutiny to be more accessible and inclusive. The organization in charge of Iowa's …

Electrifying heat pumps are key to lowering the carbon cost of buildings. (SkyLine/Adobe Stock)


BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- Last month's deadly heat wave in the Northwest underscored the need to reduce carbon emissions, but advocates want to ensure low-…

Social Issues

MINOT, N.D. -- Many arguments are being floated about legislation before Congress that would bring big changes to U.S. labor laws. The bill has its …

Studies show Medicaid expansion could reduce costs for Missouri's health-care system as a whole, by getting more patients preventive care, which is less expensive than emergency care. (torwaiphoto/Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Health-care advocates called on Missouri lawmakers to allocate funds for Medicaid expansion right away, after the state …

Social Issues

AUGUSTA, Maine -- School meals in Maine will be free for all students again this year and into the future, but parents are being urged to fill out …


CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A report outlines how federal efforts to bring solar energy to one in four American households could bring clean energy to …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021