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Nixon Signs Legislation Allowing Disabled Missourians to Increase Savings

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Governor J. Nixon

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon signed Senate Bill 174 on Monday, creating the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) program. The program allows Missourians with disabilities acquired before the age of 26 to open a tax-exempt savings account to use toward expenses related to the disability.

The program also allows people with a disability, family members or donors to make a tax-deductible contribution up to $8,000 to an ABLE account per year.

Andrew Lackey is the public policy analyst for the Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council. He said the new law will allow people with disabilities to gain independence. He also said the law will impact disabled people and their families by allowing them to put aside money for important purchases.

“They can do things like save for an accessible vehicle,” Lackey said. “If they need an adapted vehicle to maybe go to school or go to work, they can save their own money, and the family can maybe set aside money to pay for those expenses that Medicaid wouldn’t.”

Prior to the ABLE program, people with disabilities could have no more than $1,000 in assets to maintain  Medicaid eligibility.   

“People depend on Medicaid to pay for a lot of their supports and services, and yet they’ve been forced to live in poverty” said Mark Satterwhite of Boone County Family Resources. “This will allow them to save money for unexpected things that come up or to pay for things that Medicaid won’t cover.”

Robyn Kaufman, Executive Director of Boone County Family Services, also noted the importance of savings.

“It’ll give people with disabilities the opportunity to save up for things that we all might need, like housing or education, or other items that, maybe in the past being limited to keeping their bank account so low, they didn’t really have a rainy day fund for,” Kaufman said.