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North Carolina 30th state to enact ABLE legislation

August 11, 2015

Raleigh, N.C.—North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory was joined today by advocates from the disability community at a signing ceremony for House Bill 556, ABLE legislation that allows families to set up tax-exempt 529A savings accounts for disability-related expenses

“The ABLE Act will allow countless North Carolinians with disabilities reach their full potential by providing services as well as educational opportunities so they can help build a stronger and more compassionate North Carolina for us all,” Governor McCrory said.

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. North Carolina ABLE legislation was sponsored by Representatives Marilyn Avila, Donny Lambeth, Edward Hanes, and Graig Meyer in the House, and a companion Senate bill was championed by Senators Tamara Barringer, Ralph Hise, and Tom Apodaca.

North Carolina Senator Richard Burr, who was a champion of the federal ABLE Act, attended the signing ceremony and celebrated the victory with advocates.

“I am proud that my home state moved quickly to ensure North Carolina’s families will have this opportunity. Unfortunately, for too long, our policies have focused on what an individual with a disability cannot do. Before ABLE, federal law was written in such a way where a family who had the resources and the desire to save and plan for that child's future expenses were advised not to do so in fear of disqualifying them from federal programs down the road. Not only has this been cruel, it has also been a reflection of our own failure to recognize the potential and meaning of each and every human life. The ABLE Act will help Americans with disabilities achieve their purpose and fulfill their God-given gifts." He added, “I want to thank Governor McCrory and the General Assembly for making ABLE accounts a reality in North Carolina.

Earlier this year Senator Burr was honored by Autism Speaks for his work to pass ABLE legislation at the 2015 Autism Speaks Leadership Summit.

"We are extremely excited that Governor McCrory signed the Able bill today. After eight long years we now have the ability to save for our children's future. This bill not only will help those of us in the autism community, but all families with disabilities," said Bob D’Amelio North Carolina State Policy Chair with Autism Speaks who was on hand for the signing ceremony.

ABLE laws have also been enacted in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

“We are thankful to Governor McCrory and the work the champions in the state legislature for their leadership in implementing ABLE programs for families across the state,” said Stuart Spielman, Senior Policy Advisor and Counsel at Autism Speaks. “This victory for families with disabilities would not have been possible without the hard work of grassroots advocates throughout North Carolina.”

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