Over 400,000 New Yorkers with disabilities now eligible for tax-exempt savings accounts
Senator David Carlucci announced that the New York Achieving a better Life Experience (ABLE) Act has been signed into law by Governor Cuomo. This new law will provide New Yorkers with a disability the opportunity to create a tax-exempt savings account used for maintaining their health, independence and quality of life.
Historically, eligibility for these benefits has required people with disabilities to be financially insolvent, denying them the opportunity to plan for the future. Another concern raised by primary caretakers of people with disabilities, who are often parents, is the uncertainty of who will take care of their child when they pass away. The National Down Syndrome Society stated that the average life expectancy for a person with down syndrome has risen from 25 in 1983 to almost 60 in 2014. The NY ABLE Act finally recognizes the significant cost of living with a disability, the necessity of planning for the future and ensuring that no one is forced into poverty for lacking the money to pay medical bills.
The NY ABLE Act, sponsored by Senator Carlucci, is modeled after the federal ABLE Act that was signed by President Obama in 2014. This new law allows for an individual to deposit money into an ABLE account that is exempt from any Medicaid or Supplemental Security monetary limit as it relates to personal assets. With New York signing the ABLE Act into law, people with disabilities who live in 32 states and the District of Columbia are eligible for ABLE savings accounts, in addition to over 400,000 New Yorkers.
“Living with a disability should not mean a life of poverty. The poverty rate for New Yorkers with disabilities is just over 28 percent, twice that of New Yorkers without disabilities. We must end this cycle, and the NY ABLE Act is a step to doing that,” said Senator David Carlucci. “Our friends, neighbors, and children with disabilities deserve an equal chance at a better, brighter and financially secure future. I thank Governor Cuomo and applaud the support of advocates from across the state that made their voices heard in Albany.”
“The ABLE Act offers a real opportunity for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities and their families to save for important expenses related to housing, education, transportation, health and wellness and without penalty. We applaud Senator Carlucci for his leadership in passing the measure in the State Senate and thank the Governor for signing this landmark bill into law,” said Ann Hardiman, Executive Director of the New York State Association of Community and Residential Agencies.
“This signing of the New York Achieving Better Life Experience, or ABLE Act, by Governor Cuomo will provide life-changing options for people with disabilities as it allows families to save funds in a structure that will ensure those funds are available for education, health care, transportation, housing and other expenses not covered by other benefit programs,” said Susan Constantino, President & CEO of Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State.