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Maryland Passes Legislation to Create ABLE Program Task Force

April 15, 2015

ANNAPOLIS- The Maryland General Assembly passed Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) legislation, to create a task force to 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.

“This ABLE legislation is a major 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 look forward to hearing the recommendations of the task force and 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 Arkansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia in the growing list to pass ABLE legislation. ABLE legislation is also currently awaiting signature in Kansas and legislation is pending in Alabama, Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana (would amend existing law) Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Washington.