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Virginia Becomes First State to Enact ABLE Program in 2015

March 20, 2015

RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAullife signed Virginia’s Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, HB 2306 to allow families to invest in tax-free savings accounts for disability related expenses, becoming the first state to enact the legislation since the federal ABLE Act was signed in December of 2014.

The accounts, modeled after 529 college savings plans, require state-level implementation. Virginia’s ABLE Act, HB 2306, received overwhelming bipartisan support in both chambers and was sponsored by Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Springfield) and Senator Walter Stosch (R-Henrico).

“When I learned of the ABLE Act’s passage at the federal level and the incredible work that my constituent, Stephen Beck put into the Act, I knew that Virginia should have accounts operational as soon as possible. I am thrilled that the Governor has signed my bill, HB 2306, making Virginia the first state to put ABLE accounts into law after the federal bill. I look forward to these accounts creating a positive opportunity for so many,” said Delegate Filler-Corn.

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, but 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.

“The passage of ABLE is a victory for Virginia families with autistic children who can now do what every parent deserves- plan for their child’s future,” said Stuart Spielman, Senior Policy Adviser and Counsel at Autism Speaks. “We are grateful for the efforts of Sen. Stosch, Delegate Filler-Corn and we thank Gov. McAullife for promptly signing ABLE into law. We now must ensure that the remaining states implement ABLE so that our families can have the option of saving for disability related expenses.

Louisiana and Massachusetts have already enacted legislation and 30 other states have already filed ABLE bills this session. 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, Utah, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia.