FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 29, 2015
TOPEKA, Kan. – State Treasurer Ron Estes thanked Governor Sam Brownback today for signing HB 2216 for the Kansas Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Savings Program.
Gov. Sam Brownback signs HB 2216 while joined by the state treasurer, state legislators and members of disabled advocacy groups who were instrumental in the success of the bill April 29, 2015.
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.
Ron Estes is the 39th state treasurer for the state of Kansas and is the first state-wide elected official from the city of Wichita in 20 years. He was elected to serve as the Midwest Regional Vice President for the National Association of State Treasurers 2012-2013, and now serves on the College Savings Plans Network Executive Board. Ron has also served as Sedgwick County Treasurer and as the treasurer for the Kansas County Treasurers’ Association. He was born in Topeka and is a fifth-generation Kansan. His family continues to run a farm in Osage County. Ron and his wife, Susan, have three children.
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