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ABLE State Legislation and Implementation Updates

ABLE State Legislation

The federal Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act authorizes the states to develop their own ABLE programs and offer ABLE accounts to qualified beneficiaries. Many states have moved quickly to pass ABLE laws and are in various stages of developing their ABLE programs. Click here to see a list of states that have created webpages regarding their ABLE programs. 

Below are the states that are currently working on ABLE bills or that have enacted ABLE legislation:  

* Indicates a state that has enacted ABLE legislation

  • *Alabama (SB 226) - Signed into law by Governor on 6/9/15
  • Alaska (HB 188) - Passed on 4/16/16 and awaiting Governor's signature
  • *Arizona (HB 2388) - Signed into law by Governor on 5/12/16
  • *Arkansas (HB 1239) - Signed into law by Governor on 4/8/15
  • *California (AB 449SB 324) - Signed in law on 10/11/15. AB 1553, introduced on 1/5/16, would clean up enacted ABLE legislation.
  • *Colorado (HB 1359) - Signed into law by Governor on 6/3/15
  • *Connecticut (HB 6738) - Signed into law by Governor on 6/19/15. HB 5014, introduced in February 2016, would allow a tax deduction for contributions to ABLE accounts.
  • *Delaware (HB 60 with HA 1) - Signed into law by Governor on 6/10/15
  • *District of Columbia (B21-0252) - Signed into law on a temporary basis by Mayor on 10/16/15. DC secured Congressional approval of its permanent ABLE legislation on 2/2/16. 
  • *Florida (CS/SB 642/644/646) - Signed into law by Governor on 5/21/15
  • *Georgia (HB 768) - Signed into law by Governor on 5/3/16
  • *Hawaii  (HB 119 HD2 SD1 CD1) - Signed into law by Governor on 7/2/15 
  • *Illinois (SB 1383) - Signed into law by Governor on 7/27/15. SB 2268, introduced on 1/27/16, would clean up the original ABLE bill.
  • *Indiana (SB 11) - Signed into law by Governor on 3/21/16
  • *Iowa (SF 505) - ABLE was added to a Health and Human Services Appropriations bill, which was signed into law by the Governor on 7/2/15
  • *Kansas (HB 2216) - Signed into law by Governor on 4/15/15
  • *Kentucky (SB 179) - Signed into law by Governor on 4/5/16
  • *Louisiana (HB 598) - The ABLE Act passed on 5/16/14 as Act 93 of the 2014 Regular Session (HB 833). This was prior to the federal passage of the ABLE act in December 2014.  HB 598 was filed on 4/3/15 to amend Act 93; it was signed into law by the Governor on 7/1/15.  
  • *Maine (LD 1421 (HP 967)) - Requires the Treasurer to study options for participating in ABLE and to report back to the legislature by 1/15/17.  Became law on 3/6/16.
  • *Maryland (HB 431) - The passage of SB 761 in 2015 established an ABLE Task Force; see December 2015 Maryland ABLE Task Force Final Report. An ABLE bill based on the Task Force report (HB 431) was signed into law on 4/12/16.
  • *Massachusetts (Ch. 226, Acts of 2014) - Signed into law by Governor on 8/5/14, prior to federal passage of ABLE.  New legislation (H 3753) would revise the pre-federal legislation.  
  • *Michigan (HB 4542, HB 4543, HB 4544 and SB 360) - Signed into law by Governor on 10/28/15
  • *Minnesota (SF 1458) - ABLE attached to omnibus health and human services appropriations bill - Signed into law by Governor on 5/22/15
  • *Missouri (SB 174) - Signed into law by Governor on 6/29/15
  • Mississippi (HB 1019 / SB 2607) - House bill died in Committee on 2/23/16 and Senate bill died in Committee on 3/22/16
  • *Montana (SB 399) - Signed into law by Governor on 5/5/15 
  • *Nebraska (LB 591) - Signed into law by Governor on 5/27/15. LB 776, which amends details of the Nebraska ABLE law, was signed into law by Governor on 3/9/16
  • *Nevada (SB 419) - Signed into law by Governor on 5/29/15
  • *New Hampshire (SB 265) - Signed into law by Governor on 3/16/16
  • *New Jersey (S 2770 - Specify 2014-15 session and type in bill number to see info) - Signed into law by Governor on 1/11/16
  • *New Mexico (HB 61) - Signed into law by Governor on 3/3/16
  • *New York (S 4472-D / A 7767-B) - Identical bills were signed into law by Governor on 12/22/15. A 9171 and S 6397, identical bills introduced in 2016, would remove the tax deduction and make technical changes to ABLE law.
  • *North Carolina (H 556) - Signed into law by Governor on 8/11/15
  • *North Dakota (HB 1373) - Signed into law by Governor on  4/1/15
  • *Ohio (HB 155) - Signed into law by Governor on 7/16/15. HB 358, introduced in October 2015, would provide a personal income tax deduction for contributions to ABLE accounts.
  • Oklahoma (HB 2821) - Passed on 5/23/16 and awaiting Governor's signature
  • *Oregon (SB 777 D) - Signed into law by Governor on 8/12/15
  • *Pennsylvania (SB 879) - Signed into law by Governor on 4/18/16
  • *Rhode Island (HB 5564 Sub A / SB 465 Sub A - Type in bill numbers to see info) - Signed into law by Governor on 7/9/15
  • *South Carolina (H 3768) - Signed into law by Governor on 4/29/16
  • *South Dakota (HB 1224) - Makes ABLE accounts available to SD residents through partnerships with other states - Signed into law by Govenor on 3/11/16
  • *Tennessee (HB 999 / SB 1162) - Signed into law by Governor on 5/18/15
  • *Texas (SB 1664) - Signed into law by Governor on 6/19/15
  • *Utah (SB 292) - Signed into law by Governor on 3/31/15
  • *Vermont (S 138) - ABLE passed as part of an economic development bill that was signed into law by the Governor on 6/1/15
  • *Virginia (HB 2306 / SB 1404) - Signed into law by Governor on 3/17/2015. HB 1103, which excludes ABLE accounts from eligibility determination for state means-tested programs, was signed into law by Governor on 4/1/16.
  • *Washington (HB 2063) - Signed into law by Governor on 5/1/15 creating a work group for purpose of establishing an ABLE program. HB 2323, which will establish an ABLE program, was signed into law on 3/29/16.
  • *West Virginia (HB 2902) - Signed into law by Governor on 3/31/15
  • *Wisconsin - (SB 21) ABLE was added to the executive budget act of the 2015 legislature, which was signed by the Governor on 7/12/15. AB 731, which repeals the Wisconsin ABLE law but extends tax deduction to out-of-state ABLE accounts, was signed into law on 3/30/16.
  • Wyoming (HB 105) - Dead bill. Passed House but failed in Senate.

ABLE Implementation Updates

Update on February 5, 2016: ABLE Implementation 2016 Webinar

Follow this link to see slides and a recording from a webinar on February 5, 2016, in which an expert panel discusses the current status of ABLE and what to expect in the next 12 months. The panelists include NDSS Vice President of Advocacy & Public Policy Heather Sachs.

Update on December 17, 2015: ABLE State Residency Requirement Eliminated

The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) is pleased to share today’s news that one restriction on ABLE accounts – the state residency requirement – has been eliminated as part of the Tax Extenders package (Section 303) that passed the US House and US Senate today. The state ABLE residency requirement meant that a qualified individual could only open an ABLE account in the state where he or she resides and could not “shop around” to other state ABLE programs. This restriction will be stricken from the ABLE law once President Obama signs the Tax Extenders bill. NDSS believes this is a positive change for individuals with Down syndrome and our families for several reasons:

(1)    It will give qualified individuals quicker access to ABLE accounts.  You will no longer need to wait for your home state to establish an ABLE program; you will be free to open an account in another state that may launch its program sooner.

(2)    It will increase competition in the marketplace. Just like regular 529 college savings plans, there will be a wider array of investment options available to individuals so that they can find the ABLE plan that best suits their needs.

(3)    It will spur some states to move more quickly to launch their ABLE programs. States now have incentive to launch their ABLE programs as quickly as possible as the first movers will likely see a flurry of ABLE account openings.

(4)    It may cause some states to revisit their ABLE programs and try to “sweeten the deal” by providing additional incentives to stay in-state.  More states may offer tax deductions or other incentives to their state residents who opt to open an ABLE account in their home state.

NDSS is working closely with ABLE state administrators, state treasurers and legislators to make sure that this change has the most beneficial impact on the disability community as possible. We will be reviewing all ABLE bills that have been enacted, as well as newly developed ABLE bills, to make sure that this change does not negatively impact our community.

Update on December 17, 2015: NDSS ISSUES ABLE ANNIVERSARY REPORT

December 19 marks one year since President Obama signed the historic Stephen Beck, Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. On this anniversary, NDSS is pleased to issue a report on ABLE past, present and future - The Stephen Beck, Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience Act: One Year Later. The report includes the history of ABLE, the status of the federal ABLE Act, the progress of ABLE in the states and next steps for implementation of ABLE. 

Update on November 20, 2015: NEW IRS GUIDANCE ON ABLE PROGRAM IMPLEMENTATION

Breaking and exciting news, the IRS just announced three changes to the proposed rules for the #ABLEact! NDSS is thrilled with these changes, as they will help make it easier for states to offer and administer ABLE programs. NDSS has been working with the Department of Treasury to advocate for this new guidance. These changes include:

  • Categorization of distributions not required: ABLE programs need not include safeguards to determine which distributions are for qualified disability expenses, nor are they required to specifically identify those used for housing expenses. Commenters noted that such a requirement would be unduly burdensome and that, in any case, the eventual use of a distribution may not be known at the time it is made. Designated beneficiaries will still need to categorize distributions when determining their federal income tax obligations.
  • Contributors’ TINs not required: ABLE programs will not be required to request the taxpayer identification numbers (TINs) of contributors to the ABLE account at the time when the contributions are made, if the program has a system in place to reject contributions that exceed the annual limits. However, if an excess contribution is deposited into a designated beneficiary’s ABLE account, the program will need to request the contributor’s TIN. For most people, the TIN is their Social Security number (SSN).
  • Disability diagnosis certification permitted: Designated beneficiaries can open an ABLE account by certifying, under penalties of perjury, that they meet the qualification standards, including their receipt of a signed physician’s diagnosis if necessary, and that they will retain that diagnosis and provide it to the program or the IRS upon request. This means that eligible individuals with disabilities will not need to provide the written diagnosis when opening the ABLE account, and ABLE programs will not need to receive, retain or evaluate detailed medical records.

The full text of the IRS' Interim Guidance is available at: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-15-81.pdf

Update on October 14, 2015: NDSS PRESIDENT SARA WEIR AND NDSS BOARD MEMBER SARA WOLFF PROVIDE TESTIMONY TO THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICES ON THE PROPOSED ABLE REGULATIONS

Please click here to read the full testimony from Sara Weir.

Update on September 24, 2015: PANEL PRESENTATION ON THE ABLE ACT IMPLEMENTATION

Click here to see a video of the September 24, 2015, panel presentation that included Heather Sachs, NDSS Vice President of Advocacy & Public Policy, on "The ABLE Act Implementation Tax Advantaged Savings Accounts: New Choices for Families to Create Pathways to a Better Quality of Life - What Does it Mean for You?" presented by the National Disability Institute and ServiceSource.  

Update on September 16, 2015:  THE NATIONAL DOWN SYNDROME SOCIETY'S (NDSS) FINAL COMMENTS ON THE PROPOSED FEDERAL ABLE REGULATIONS

In June 2015, the Internal Revenue Service issued proposed regulations for the federal ABLE Act.  Comments are due by 11:59 pm Eastern time on Monday, September 21, 2015.  NDSS is pleased to share our organization's final comments:

http://www.ndss.org/Global/NDSS_ABLE_Proposed_Regs_Comments.pdf

NDSS led the advocacy effort behind the passage of the landmark Stephen Beck Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, and has played an active role in the passage of state ABLE bills and ABLE program implementation.  Our final comments are a direct result of many months of collaboration among the leadership of NDSS, Autism Speaks and the National Disability Institute (NDI), as well as other stakeholders.  Our comments focus on making all state ABLE programs simple to use and accessible for individuals with Down syndrome (and their families), and lessening the administrative burden and ensuring these programs are affordable for state treasurers and 529 administrators who will oversee the state plan implementation and rollout.

TAKE ACTION: NDSS is encouraging all local advocacy organizations and advocates to also submit comments by the September 21st deadline. Your advocacy is needed to ensure ABLE program rules will not place undue burdens on those who open ABLE accounts and states that will oversee the programs.  We are providing a sample template here:

http://www.ndss.org/Global/NDSS_ABLE_Proposed_Regs_Comments.pdf (Click here for a Word version.)

Comments may be sent electronically via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=IRS-2015-0030-0001.

For questions or comments, please contact our NDSS VP of Advocacy & Public Policy, Heather Sachs, at hsachs@ndss.org.

Our organization continues to be committed to ensuring ABLE accounts will be readily available to families in early 2016.  We are grateful for your ongoing advocacy and commitment to individuals with Down syndrome and their families.

All my best,
Sara Hart Weir
President
National Down Syndrome Society
www.ndss.org

Update on June 19, 2015:  IRS ISSUES PROPOSED ABLE ACT REGULATIONS

On June 19, 2015, the U.S. Department of Treasury released the proposed regulations and rules for the Stephen Beck Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act.  NDSS is in the process of reviewing the proposed regulations and providing official comments, which are due in 90 days. For more information, please read the IRS' notification of proposed ABLE regulations

In March of 2015, the U.S. Department of Treasury issued a notice encouraging states to proceed with passing ABLE bills. (See below.)  While many states have passed ABLE bills, they have been anxiously awaiting the issuance of these regulations to help answer ambiguities in the federal law before taking significant steps toward designing their ABLE programs. After these regulations are finalized, we expect to see many states expediting ABLE program development and implementation so that ABLE accounts will become available as early as next year.

Please contact NDSS Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy, Heather Sachs, at hsachs@ndss.org with any questions or to offer input on NDSS’ formal comment letter.

Update on March 10, 2015: US TREASURY AND IRS GIVE STATES THE GREEN-LIGHT TO ESTABLISH ABLE PROGRAMS PRIOR TO ISSUANCE OF FEDERAL GUIDELINES ON SECTION 529A

The US Treasury and IRS issued a statement encouraging the state formation of ABLE programs prior to the issuance of federal guidelines. Over 50% of all states have already introduced bills in their legislatures to make ABLE 529A programs available to residents as soon as possible. However, some states have expressed hesitancy to enact these programs prior to the issuance of federal guidelines on Section 529A. The statement released by Treasury and the IRS encourages states to proceed with the establishment of ABLE programs and provides assurances that any state programs that do not meet the requirements established by the guidelines will be given “transition relief” to make changes to the ABLE programs, including providing “sufficient time” to make necessary changes.

To read the entire statement from the US Treasury and IRS click the link here. 

For More Information

For more information, please contact NDSS Vice President of Advocacy & Public Policy, Heather Sachs, at hsachs@ndss.org.


Page last updated: May 24, 2016

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