New law set to save hundreds of MN families thousands of dollars, TEFRA fee eliminated

New law set to save hundreds of MN families thousands of dollars, TEFRA fee eliminated

New law set to save hundreds of MN families thousands of dollars, TEFRA fee eliminated

A new law that kicks in Saturday will save hundreds of Minnesota families thousands of dollars.

While it ranges from family to family, some will save several thousands of dollars per year due to new legislation that eliminates TEFRA’s parental fee.

TEFRA stands for the ‘Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act’ and is a state assistance program that can be used by families with incomes too high to qualify for medical assistance.

TEFRA often covers costs private insurance does not and while the benefits of the program can be great, the fee attached to it can be a big financial burden on families.

“What I talked about in committee was this really was a tax on children with disabilities and that doesn’t feel right for our morals as Minnesotans,” Representative Heather Edelson(DFL— Edina) said.

While there were plenty of co-authors on the bill from both sides of the aisle Representative Edelson led the way last session.

“Putting a family in that situation is just not okay,” Edelson told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS. “Putting a family in a situation where they think, ‘Is it going to be better to institutionalize or put my child in a hospital versus keeping them at home?’ That’s not a good choice,” she added.

One of those families benefiting from this legislation is the Wakefield family, of Lakeville, where their TEFRA parental fee costs them several thousand dollars each year.

Courtesy of the Wakefield family

“[Anna] was born with a rare chromosomal difference called ring 21 chromosome with q-deletions,” Beth Wakefield said about her daughter.

While Anna needs a wheelchair to help her get around, a feeding tube to eat and a sound machine to communicate, Wakefield said Anna is a happy and spunky 11-year-old girl who is excited to go to middle school next year.  

Anna Wakefield, courtesy of the Wakefield family

“Eventually her needs were getting greater and we decided to pursue this TEFRA option,” Beth Wakefield said about her daughter Anna. “And since then, [we’ve] found it to be very beneficial and very helpful.”

Some of the TEFRA benefits for the Wakefield family include modifications to their van, home renovations to help Anna get around in her wheelchair, a special bed, the food she eats and even specialized therapies and classes.

They say being able to continue using the assistance without the fee will make a big difference.  

“Other kids are involved in so many other activities, so now she has a chance to do some of these things, too,” Wakefield said.

Apply to be part of the TEFRA program here.