Senator David Carlucci (D – Rockland/Westchester), along with advocates and supporters, hosted a press conference this week calling for the passage of the ABLE Act.
Senator Carlucci is the sponsor of S4472, legislation that creates the New York ABLE ACT, which will allow people with disabilities and their families the opportunity to create a tax-exempt savings account that can be used for maintaining health, independence and quality of life.
In December 2014, the Federal Government passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience also known as the ABLE Act. This legislation, allows family members or caregivers to save money for a loved one that has a disability, tax free. In order for New York State to participate in the program, enabling legislation must be passed.
Millions of individuals with disabilities and their families depend on a wide variety of public benefits for income, health care and food and housing assistance. Historically, the eligibility for these public benefits has required people with disabilities to be financially insolvent, denying them the opportunity to plan for the future. For the first time in public policy, the ABLE Act recognizes the extra and significant costs of living with a disability.
“This legislation provides us with a real opportunity to make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities,” said Senator Carlucci. “It is imperative that we pass this bill during the 2015 legislative session. Our friends, neighbors and family members with disabilities throughout this state deserve a better, brighter and more secure future.”
“Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) will create tax-free savings accounts to assist people with disabilities while not jeopardizing their Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI),” said Carmine Marchionda, executive director of the ARC of Rockland County. “This is a positive step forward for people with disabilities and their families to set funds aside to pay for services/supports.”
Diana Hess, chief communications officer for Jawonio, said, “The ABLE ACT not only gives people with disabilities the opportunity to save but to be given the chance to gain a new level of economic independence. Most importantly, this type of savings account would not impact their current and critical benefits. Expenses for people with disabilities far exceed the average individual and affects their quality of life each and every day. There is no reason why we would not want to ease the financial burdens on families and people with disabilities and this legislation would go a long way in opening doors to many opportunities.”