Georgia launches ABLE savings program for disabled

[private]Georgia has launched a new program that will allow persons with disabilities to set up savings accounts that help them pay for education, transportation, and other living expenses without endangering their eligibility for such assistance as Medicaid and Social Security.

The initiative is called the Georgia Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Program and is modeled on the federal ABLE Act of 2014.

“This savings program will be a beneficial asset for people with disabilities across the state as they live more independent lives, seek gainful employment and plan for the future,” said Gov. Nathan Deal, who announced the new program Wednesday.LeeHawkins14jun2017

The program is authorized under legislation passed in the 2016 session — HB 768 — that was sponsored by Rep. Lee Hawkins (R-Gainesville).

The special savings accounts are similar to 529 accounts that allow parents to save money for their children’s college expenses. Up to $14,000 can be contributed to an account annually and contributions can continue to be made until the account balance reaches $445,000.

“We have received immense interest from the community in being able to access these accounts,” said Frank Berry, commissioner of the Department of Community Health.

Initially, the savings accounts will be handled through a contractual arrangement with the state of Ohio, which already has an ABLE program in place. Hawkins said legislation may be introduced later that would base the program in Georgia.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Frank Berry , Lee Hawkins , persons with disabilities , savings accounts