Erin Davis Leads Effort to Pass ABLE Act; Signed Into Law

April 30, 2015

TOPEKA, Kan. – This past session, Rep. Erin Davis and State Treasurer Ron Estes introduced and spearheaded the effort to pass HB 2216 for the Kansas Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Savings Program, otherwise known as the ABLE Act. It has now been signed into law by Governor Sam Brownback.
The program, introduced by Kansas State Treasurer Ron Estes and Representative Erin Davis (R-Olathe) in January, is an initiative that will provide individuals living with disabilities a new way to save for their future.

“I’d like to thank Governor Brownback, Representative Davis, Senators Baumgardner and Smith; Jawanda Mast, and the many disabled advocacy groups for their support of this initiative,” said Kansas State Treasurer Ron Estes. “The signing of this bill marks yet another milestone for the Kansas ABLE Savings Program as it marks one step closer to our end-goal of helping Kansans living with disabilities take charge of their future.”

The Kansas ABLE Savings Program will be administered by the State Treasurer’s Office and will allow disabled individuals and their families to save for their child’s future education, health and wellness costs, housing, transportation and related expenses in a tax-deferred savings account comparable to a Roth IRA.

“Under current law individuals with disabilities face significant challenges when it comes to maintaining employment and living an independent life since access to certain Federal support programs like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income can be lost if they exceed an asset ceiling limit of $2,000 in savings,” explained Estes. “This restriction is particularly concerning as it makes any degree of long-term financial planning extremely difficult and creates a disincentive to work.”

Assets in ABLE accounts will be sheltered from asset tests for Medicaid and Social Security Disability benefits within limits established by federal legislation.

Children and adults whose disability occurred before age 26 and who meet Social Security disability standards or have a disability certification will be eligible to have an ABLE account. Friends and relatives will be able to contribute up to $14,000 per beneficiary each year.

“Now that we’ve worked our way through the legislative process, we plan to immediately shift efforts to the nuts and bolts of building this program and will continue to see this initiative through to the finish line,” said Estes.

Photos From the Signing: