Watch the full press conference below.
Florida Among First States to Activate Qualified ABLE Program
Tallahassee, Fla. (July 7, 2016) – Today, ABLE United launched a new opportunity for Floridians with disabilities to enhance financial support, independence and quality of life. Stemming from the Florida Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, persons with disabilities can now have a tax-free savings and investment account without negatively impacting their government benefits.
The ABLE Act was championed in the state by Senate President Andy Gardiner, Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto and Representative Ray Rodrigues. Today, Florida families and advocates joined Senator Gardiner and Representative Rodrigues to officially launch ABLE United. Florida is among the first states to implement and launch an ABLE program.
“ABLE United provides the opportunity for people with unique abilities to save for the future without the concern of losing important state and federal benefits,” said Florida Senate President Andy Gardiner. “Florida families have waited a long time for something like ABLE United, and I look forward to seeing the positive impact it brings to families throughout Florida as they are finally able to plan for their futures and gain financial independence.”
The Stephen Beck Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act amends section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code to create tax-free savings accounts for individuals with disabilities. The ABLE Act was signed into law nationally on December 19, 2014, and in Florida on May 21, 2015.
ABLE United, administered by the Florida Prepaid College Board, encourages and assists the saving of private funds to help individuals with disabilities cover costs that support their health, independence and quality of life. One feature of the ABLE United program is that an individual with a disability can save with the help of family and friends, since anyone can contribute to the account.
A total of $15,000 per year can be contributed to an individual’s ABLE United account. Funds in an ABLE United account are excluded from certain federal means-tested programs, allowing individuals to save up to $100,000 without impacting Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and even more without impacting Medicaid.
“We are excited to offer this program to Florida residents and we believe that ABLE United accounts will allow individuals with disabilities to save for a better life experience,” said Kevin Thompson, Executive Director of the ABLE United Program.
Now, with an ABLE United account, individuals with disabilities can:
- Save tax-free for future qualified expenses
- Save while maintaining government benefits
- Save on fees – ABLE United offers the best value for Florida residents
To be eligible to open an ABLE United account, the individual must meet the disability and severity requirements outlined by the Social Security Administration, have experienced the onset of blindness or the disability before age 26, and be a Florida resident. There is no cost to open an account, and the monthly account fee is waived until July 1, 2017.
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ABOUT ABLE UNITED
The Stephen Beck, Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, a federal law enacted in December 2014, authorizes each state to establish a program that offers tax-free savings and investment options to encourage individuals with a disability and their families to save private funds to support health, independence, and quality of life. The ABLE United Program is the qualified ABLE program offered by the state of Florida. The program is administered by Florida ABLE, Inc., a direct-support organization of the Florida Prepaid College Board. The board, established in 1987, oversees more than $10 billion in collective investments in the Stanley G. Tate Florida Prepaid College Program and the Florida 529 Savings Program.
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