Sen. Hoffman Introduces Achieving a Better Life Experience Act

SJH Steve Larsen ABLE_2-11-15Senator John Hoffman (DFL-Champlin, Brooklyn Park and Coon Rapids) has introduced legislation (SF 39) that will make a big difference in the lives of children with disabilities. The Achieving a Better Life Act (ABLE Act) allows families with children with disabilities, and individuals with disabilities to set up tax-advantaged accounts similar to the 529 higher education accounts. These savings accounts can help the person with a disability work towards gaining more independence.

The federal ABLE Act was passed into law just a few months ago and enables each state to establish their own version. The Minnesota ABLE Act allows parents of children and individuals with a disability to open this bank account. Without passage of the ABLE Act, people with disabilities are limited to saving up to $2,000 and can lose eligibility for pubic benefits if they exceed that amount. Passage of the ABLE Act will allow savings of up to $14,000 per year. Minnesota ABLE Account savings may grow to $100,000 before Social Security Supplemental Income would be suspended, and accounts are capped at $350,000.

A person of any age must have a disability diagnosed before the age of 26 to be eligible. Contributions to the account are not tax-deductible and earnings may accumulate tax-deferred and become tax exempt if spent for approved purposes.

“This is a long overdue recognition of the profound and significant extra costs people with disabilities and the blind must endure. The Minnesota ABLE Act provides some hope and is a vehicle by which families with young people  with disabilities may avoid living at near poverty levels.” said Sen. Hoffman. “The Minnesota ABLE Act is totally non-partisan and it is estimated to impact up to 100,000 Minnesotans. By passing this legislation, we are putting people first. Finally.”

The ABLE Act was heard in the Senate Health, Human Services and Housing committee this week and passed with a unanimous vote. The legislation’s next committee stop is the Judiciary Committee.

You can email Sen. Hoffman or call his office at 651.296.4154.