In 2014, the US Congress and President Barack Obama signed the Achieving Better Life Experience or ABLE act into law. The goal of the ABLE act is to allow individuals with disabilities, including developmental disabilities, to be more financially independent and have a more secure future. It does this by allowing them to set up accounts to keep up to $14,000 in savings per year, with a maximum of $100,000 total. These personal funds can be used for most things that improve the health, independence, or quality of life for the individual.
This is important, because before the ABLE program, individuals could only have a meager $2000 in personal assets before being at risk of losing disability support such as Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and other federal benefits.
Still, the federal ABLE law only set up a plan so that individual states could decide if they wanted to pass their own version of ABLE. It was not until two years later in the 2016 legislative session that Washington State authorized the ABLE program by passing bill ESHB 2323, due to the hard work of dedicated advocates who testified at the state legislature.
On July 23rd of this year, those advocates celebrated the official launch of the ABLE program in Washington State with a party at capitol building in Olympia.
If you would like to learn more about the ABLE act, such as reading ESHB 2323, or the federal law, check out the Able Act Home Page
If you or someone you know would like to open an ABLE account, visit Washington State Able Page