ABLEnow, the Virginia-sponsored ABLE savings program, will open for nationwide enrollment in late 2016. Virginia will be among the first states in the country to launch an ABLE program for eligible individuals living with disabilities. Visit www.able-now.com to learn more and subscribe to updates.
The new program is made possible by the Stephen Beck, Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, the most significant federal legislation addressing the needs of persons with disabilities since the Americans with Disabilities Act more than 25 years ago. The ABLE Act authorized states to establish tax-advantaged savings programs for individuals with disabilities.
In 2015, the Virginia General Assembly approved legislation, endorsed and signed into law by Governor McAuliffe, authorizing development of an ABLE program in Virginia.
An ABLE account may be used to fund a variety of qualified disability expenses related to maintaining health, independence and quality of life without endangering eligibility for benefits critical to the health and well-being of many with disabilities. In addition, earnings on an ABLE account are exempt from federal and state taxation.
ABLEnow is being developed and will be administered by Virginia529, the country’s largest college savings plan, which now has an expanded mission to meet the needs of persons with disabilities. Since passage of the ABLE Act, Virginia529 has actively worked alongside disability advocates to advance amendments to proposed U.S. Department of the Treasury regulations and Social Security Administration requirements in several key areas. Nationally, these efforts helped pave the way for ABLE programs that are flexible, customer-friendly and cost-effective.
Virginia529 is committed to bringing ABLEnow to life, while ensuring the program addresses the needs of participants and meets the high standards the agency adheres to in its successful college savings programs. During the 2016 Virginia General Assembly session, further enhancements were made to the state’s developing ABLE program, adding a Virginia state income tax deduction for contributions to an ABLE account — up to $2,000 per contributor — and extending the federal exemption of ABLE programs for federal means-tested programs to all Virginia means-tested programs.
For information about ABLE accounts in general, visit the ABLE National Resource Center, www.ablenrc.org.