Va. launches ABLE program for people with disabilities

Mary Morris, CEO of Virginia529, presented the Beck family with the ABLEnow card. Pictured left to right: Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn of the 41st District; Mariae Beck and Natalie Beck (ABLEnow account holder) with mother Catherine Beck; Craig Small, senior vice president and relationship manager at PNC Financial Services Group; Mary Morris, and Shawn McLaughlin, Virginia529 Board Chair. (Jay Paul)

WASHINGTON — Virginia has launched its version of the ABLE savings program, which lets people with disabilities and their families save money for disability-related expenses without jeopardizing eligibility for other assistance programs.

ABLEnow is a tax-advantaged account that allows eligible people to save up to $14,000 a year. Virginia is one of the first states in the nation to offer an ABLE savings account program.

Maryland is expected to implement its version of ABLE in late 2017.

The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act was signed into law Dec. 19, 2014, creating tax-free savings accounts to cover qualified expenses such as education, housing and transportation. It supplements other benefits provided through private insurance, Medicaid, the Supplemental Security Income program and other sources.

The accounts are administered like college savings accounts, health savings accounts and individual retirement accounts.

“ABLEnow allows individuals with disabilities to save like never before and, for many, we believe this will be a big step for independence and personal empowerment,” said Mary Morris, CEO of Virginia529, the state agency administering the new ABLEnow program.

The Virginia ABLEnow program includes a debit card that can be used to pay for qualified disability expenses directly from the account.

The Virginia ABLEnow program has no enrollment fee and no minimum contribution.

Learn more about Virginia’s ABLEnow program.

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