March , 2019

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New Illinois Law to Provide Financial Stability, Independence for Individuals with Disabilities

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs welcomed state treasurers from across the nation and discussed working together to implement a program that helps families save money to cover expenses for people with disabilities.

The Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE Act) increases the amount of money that can be saved and spent each year without jeopardizing federal assistance or incurring certain taxes. The ABLE Act assists families facing challenges such as Autism, Down Syndrome, Blindness, or someone who has suffered a debilitating injury before the age of 26. ABLE accounts are similar to 529 college saving plans with earnings that are tax-advantaged federally.

“It is my pleasure to host my fellow state treasury leaders to brainstorm and discuss how to best implement the ABLE Act in our respective states to ensure we are helping as many people as we possibly can,” Frerichs said. “The ABLE Act will make a tremendous difference for individuals with disabilities, giving them the financial stability, independence, and peace of mind to live their lives with dignity.”

The ABLE Forum, which is being held at the Bilandic Building August 6 and 7 in Chicago, includes sessions on Treasury regulations, market assessment, college savings programs, effective communication, and program coordination.

“I want to thank Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs for hosting this forum which allows states and potential private sector partners to discuss issues surrounding the implementation of ABLE programs,” Hon. Alabama State Treasurer Young Boozer III said. “These unique programs will allow individuals with disabilities to save for their future and we are privileged to have the opportunity to assist these individuals and their families. I am delighted to tell you that more than 35 states and 17 private sector firms have come to Chicago to begin the process of implementing ABLE plans and have been joined by experts from the disability community to help us better understand their needs and the beneficiaries we will serve with this new program.”

The Treasurer’s office will be responsible for the administration and implementation of ABLE accounts in accordance with federal rules and regulations. The accounts can be used to pay for qualifying expenses such as education, health, housing and transportation costs. ABLE accounts are similar to 529 college saving plans with earnings that are tax-advantaged federally.

Senate Bill 1383 was signed into law in Illinois on July 27. Senator Scott Bennett of Champaign and Representative Kelly Burke of Oak Lawn are applauded for their leadership and guidance to get the proposal passed by the Illinois General Assembly.

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