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Montana Becomes 10th State to Enact ABLE

May 11, 2015

Helena-- Montana Governor Steve Bullock signed the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, SB 399, at a signing ceremony to allow families the opportunity to set up tax-exempt 529A savings accounts for disability-related expenses. Montana is now the 10th state to enact ABLE legislation and a clear indicator of the national momentum for implementing the savings accounts for families with disabilities.

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 savings accounts are managed on the state level and require state implementation. Montana’s ABLE legislation, SB 399, was sponsored by Senator Fred Thomas ((R) SD 44).

“We are incredibly grateful to Senator Fred Thomas and Governor Steve Bullock for their leadership on this important legislation that empowers families to invest in the future of their family members with disabilities,” said Stuart Spielman, Senior Policy Advisor and Counsel at Autism Speaks. “Today’s victory would not have been possible without the hard work of grassroots advocates across the state who reached out to their legislators on the importance of ABLE programs for their families and loved ones.”

Montana joins the rapidly growing list of states that have enacted ABLE legislation, a list that  includes Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Utah, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

"Today is a big day for Montana families that have a child with a disability.  I am so excited to have been able to advocate for this important legislation on both a federal and state level.  After many years of work, we will now be able to save for our children's future,” said Laura Simonsen, State Policy Chair, Montana.

ABLE legislation is currently pending in Alabama, Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana (to amend existing law), Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Vermont.

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