PA Treasury Takes Important Step to Establish ABLE Tax-Exempt Savings Accounts for People with Disabilities and their Families

Harrisburg, PA – April 7, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Today, Pennsylvania Treasury is delivering to members of the state General Assembly draft legislation that, if enacted, would establish the PA ABLE Savings Program – tax-exempt savings accounts specifically for people with qualified disabilities and their families. Treasury’s draft legislation is an important initial step on the road to providing a meaningful financial tool to pay for education, medical, transportation, and other disability-related expenses.

“People with disabilities and their families face many challenges. Among them are planning for a financially secure future and saving for disability-related expenses,” Executive Deputy State Treasurer Christopher Craig said. “When enacted, this will provide families savings options without jeopardizing eligibility for important support programs.

“Pennsylvania Treasury is proud and excited to lead this important effort on behalf of individuals with disabilities and their families,” Craig stated.

Last December, Congress passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act that authorizes states to establish tax-exempt savings accounts. Modeled after college savings accounts, ABLE accounts will enable people with qualified disabilities and their families to save for housing, education, transportation, medical and other expenses if related to their disability. Once ABLE programs are established by the individual’s state of residence, assets in ABLE accounts will have tax-exempt advantages and federal benefit protections.

Treasury will create a sign-up form to make it easy for individuals, family members and advocates to receive additional information and updates pertaining to PA ABLE Savings Program legislation and implementation on www.patreasury.gov. Anyone interested may register to be the first to know about the progress of legislation and when accounts can be opened.The PA ABLE Savings Program would allow state residents with qualified disabilities, and their families, to benefit from these opportunities, including:

  • Save up to $14,000 each year.
  • Savings grow tax-free.
  • Use account to pay for a wide range of disability-related expenses.
  • Withdrawals will be exempt from federal and state income tax when used for qualified disability expenses.
  • Accounts would be exempt from inheritance tax.
  • PA ABLE savings would be excluded from eligibility determinations for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits (savings up to $100,000), medical assistance, and other means-tested federal programs.

 

Pennsylvania Treasury’s draft legislation was composed with the assistance of community advocates and volunteer attorneys.  “Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation is very pleased to support the Treasury Department’s proposed legislation,” said Executive Director Susan Tachau.  “This legislation will allow people to save for their future – for such things as assistive technology, housing, transportation, health care, and education – without jeopardizing their continued eligibility for critical support services such as SSI and home- and community-based waivers. If enacted, this will be the most significant piece of legislation for Pennsylvanians with a disability since passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act 25 years ago!”

The federal ABLE Act is modeled on section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code, which recognizes state-established savings programs to meet future college expenses.  Pennsylvania Treasury has been administering the Pennsylvania 529 program since 1993.

Media contact: Doug Rohanna, 717-787-2991 or mailto:

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