Sacramento, CA — California Governor Jerry Brown has signed legislation that establishes an Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) program for disability-related expenses in the state. The California State Legislature unanimously passed the legislation earlier this month.
The federal ABLE Act, enacted in December of 2014, amended federal law to disregard ABLE account funds for means-tested federal programs such as SSI and Medicaid, which cap (usually at $2,000) the amount an individual with a disability may save.
The California legislation was sponsored by Senator Fran Pavley (Senate Bill No. 324) and Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (Assembly Bill No. 449). “This bill is a significant victory for Californians with disabilities,” said Assemblymember Irwin. “ABLE savings accounts represent a move towards greater independence and financial security for people living with disabilities and their families. I’d like to thank the disability rights community for supporting this bill and Governor Brown for signing it.”
“SB 324 is a bipartisan measure that provides financial tools for people with disabilities to achieve a better life experience in California,” said the bill’s author, Senator Fran Pavley of Agoura Hills. “These accounts will be able to fund a variety of needed expenses such as medical and dental care, housing, and education.”
ABLE laws have now been enacted in 32 states including Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
“We applaud the work of Senator Pavley and Assemblymember Irwin to make this financial tool a reality for people with disabilities and their families and we are grateful to Governor Brown for his support,” said Stuart Spielman, Senior Policy Advisor and Counsel at Autism Speaks. “This victory was only possible with the collaboration of multiple disability organizations, an energized grassroots network, and leaders who listened to the concerns of our community.”
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