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North Dakota Passes ABLE Program

March 27, 2015

BISMARCK – North Dakota’s Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, HB 1373, has passed both chambers of the legislature and is now headed to Governor Jack Dalrymple.  Once enacted, North Dakota could become the second state to enact ABLE legislation in 2015.  HB 1373, was sponsored by Reps. Mark Dosch (R-Bismarck) and Rep. Wayne Trottier (R-Northwood) in the House and and Sen. Kyle Davison (R-Fargo) in the Senate.

ABLE accounts, modeled after 529 college savings plans, allow families to invest in tax-free savings accounts for disability related expenses . Under previous law, people with disabilities who saved more than $2,000 would not qualify or would risk the loss of their Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid and other benefits.  Enacted late last year, the federal ABLE Act amended the tax code to disregard the current $2,000 cap on savings for individuals with disabilities for ABLE qualified programs.

“We are thrilled that North Dakota families are one step closer to having the opportunity to set money aside to plan for their children’s future,” said Stuart Spielman, Senior Policy Adviser and Counsel at Autism Speaks. “We are very hopeful that Governor Dalrymple will sign the legislation in short order.”

Virginia, Louisiana and Massachusetts have already enacted legislation and West Virginia and Utah have passed ABLE in both state chambers. Additional states with pending legislation include the following: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Washington.