ANNAPOLIS- Governor Larry Hogan signed Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) legislation to create a task force that will make recommendations on implementing ABLE accounts to allow families the opportunity to set up tax-exempt savings accounts for disability-related expenses.
The Maryland ABLE legislation was sponsored by Senator Brian J. Feldman and Delegate Craig J. Zucker and received broad support by disability organizations across Maryland. The accounts, modeled after 529 college savings plans, require state level implementation after ABLE was enacted at the federal level last year. The task force established by the legislation will report its findings and recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly before the end of the year following the same path to enactment as 529 college savings plans in Maryland.
“We are grateful for the hard work of Senator Brian Feldman and Delegate Craig Zucker on this significant step forward in the financial futures for those with autism living in Maryland,” said Stuart Spielman, Senior Policy Advisor and Counsel at Autism Speaks. “We are grateful to Governor Hogan for signing the legislation and are hopeful the task force will recommend a swift implementation of ABLE programs for Maryland families.”
Enacted late last year, the federal ABLE Act 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.
Maryland joins the rapidly growing list of states that have enacted ABLE legislation which includes Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia. ABLE legislation has also passed state houses in Florida, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Missouri and Tennessee. Meanwhile, ABLE legislation is currently pending in Alabama, Alaska, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana (to amend existing law), Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas and Vermont.
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