The leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome.

National Down Syndrome Society
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First ABLE Accounts Open in Ohio

National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) to Take Part in Launch of the First ABLE Program in Ohio Allowing Millions of Americans with Disabilities to Save for the Future

New Savings Tool will Enhance the Economic Independence for Individuals with Disabilities

Washington, DC/Cincinnati, Ohio (June 1, 2016) – Today, Ohio became the first state to launch an Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) program, a tax-free savings program that allows people with disabilities to expand their economic freedom. Ohio’s STABLE Program, which is administered by the Office of the Treasurer of Ohio, makes 529A ABLE accounts available to all qualified individuals across the country through its website at The launch took place this morning on the University of Cincinnati’s Stratford Heights Complex with a national launch event planned for next week on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC with Congressional ABLE Act Champions and several Members of Congress.

“For almost a decade, NDSS has been proud to be a leader in the effort to ensure individuals with Down syndrome (and other disabilities) are allowed to expand their economic opportunities and freedoms. The ABLE Act was an idea that started around a kitchen table in Northern Virginia by five dedicated parents from the Down syndrome community. Today is a historical achievement as now ABLE accounts are a reality for all individuals with disabilities in American thanks to the hard work of so many dedicated advocates from across the US,” said NDSS President Sara Hart Weir. “We couldn’t be more proud to participate in the launch of the STABLE Accounts in Ohio.”

Ohio has worked quickly and diligently to develop STABLE Accounts and to offer a robust array of investment options to suit a variety of needs and preferences. The STABLE Accounts’ leaders have consulted with the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) and other national disability groups and conducted a “soft launch” in April when they allowed a handful of qualified individuals to open STABLE accounts in order to test the program. The launch today makes STABLE (ABLE) accounts publicly available. Due to a 2015 amendment to the federal ABLE Act, which eliminated the state residency requirement, any qualified individual across the country will be able to open an Ohio ABLE account through the STABLE program.

Speaking at today’s event were Ohio state Treasurer Josh Mandel, Ohio State Representative Jonathan Dever, NDSS President Sara Hart Weir, NDSS Board Member and Cincinnati Resident Chip Gerhardt and Jill Meyer, President and CEO of Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber Community Leaders. 

Ohio’s inaugural ABLE program is the result of nearly a decade of persistent advocacy efforts from the disability community. Before the Stephen Beck Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act (PL 113-295) was enacted in December 2014, people with disabilities receiving federal benefits could not have more than $2,000 in assets without jeopardizing these critical supports. This landmark law added section 529A to the IRS Tax Code to allow individuals with disabilities to save for qualified medical, housing, transportation, education and other expenses. More than 46 states and the District of Columbia have passed state ABLE legislation and are at varying stages of ABLE program design and implementation.

Though first, Ohio will not be the only state to launch an ABLE program this summer. It is anticipated that Nebraska and Tennessee are also poised to launch nationwide ABLE programs, and Florida will launch an ABLE program solely for Florida residents by July 1, 2016. See the NDSS website for a list of all ABLE programs in development.



The National Down Syndrome Society is a nonprofit organization with more than 350 affiliates nationwide representing over 400,000 Americans who have Down syndrome.  The mission of NDSS is to be the national advocate for the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome.  NDSS envisions a world in which all people with Down syndrome have the opportunity to enhance their quality of life, realize their life aspirations, and become valued members of welcoming communities. For more information visit 

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