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Utah Third State to Enact ABLE Program in 2015

April 02, 2015

SALT LAKE- Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed the Achieving a Better Life Experience Program and Tax Credits bill, SB 0292, to allow families the opportunity to set up tax-exempt savings accounts for disability-related expenses.

The accounts, modeled after 529 college savings plans, require state level implementation after ABLE was enacted at the federal level last year. Utah’s ABLE legislation was sponsored by Sen. Todd Weiler (R-Salt Lake) and becomes the second state to pass ABLE legislation this week alone.

“The passage of ABLE is a major victory for and would not have been possible without the hard work of our grassroots advocates and leadership of our champions,” said Stuart Spielman, Senior Policy Advisor and Counsel at Autism Speaks.

Federal ABLE legislation, signed into law in December of 2014, amended the tax code to allow tax-free savings accounts to help finance disability-related needs and disregards the current $2,000 cap on savings for individuals with disabilities for qualified ABLE accounts programs. 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.

Utah joins West Virginia and Virginia which enacted similar programs. ABLE legislation is currently awaiting signature in Kansas, North Dakota, and Utah. Twenty-nine other states have filed bills. States with pending legislation include Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Washington.