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

National Down Syndrome Society
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New York New York 10017
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ABLE State Legislation and Implementation Updates

Overview

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. States have moved quickly to pass ABLE laws, several have launched programs and many others are developing their ABLE programs. 

State ABLE Programs

Click here to see a list of states that have created webpages regarding their ABLE programs, including states that have launched their programs.

State ABLE Legislation

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) - Signed into law by Governor on 8/6/16
  • *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, which cleans up the enacted ABLE legislation, was signed into law on 9/13/16. SB 218, introduced on 2/1/17, would prohibit the state, upon death of the beneficiary, from seeking distribution of any amount remaining in an ABLE account for any amount of medical assistance paid under the state’s Medicaid plan. AB 384, introduced on 2/9/17, would provide technical fixes to the California ABLE bill and expand the program nationwide.
  • *Colorado (HB 1359) - Signed into law by Governor on 6/3/15
  • *Connecticut (HB 6738) - Signed into law by Governor on 6/19/15. SB 350, introduced in January 2017, would allow a state 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, an ABLE clean up bill, was signed by the Governor on 7/15/16. The clean up bill changes the state bill to allow residents of other states to participate in the Illinois ABLE program; also allows opening of ABLE accounts with IRS interim guidance rather than final regulations.
  • *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. Excludes ABLE accounts for purpose of determining eligibility for means-tested programs. Also, establishes work group to determine plan for ABLE accounts and to submit report by 12/31/16.
  • *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.  H 3753 / H 4402 were introduced to 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 (SB 2311) - Signed into law by Governor on 3/20/17
  • *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-A / S 8101, identical bills introduced in 2016, were signed by the Governor on 7/21/16, making technical changes to the ABLE law and repealing the state tax deduction for contributions.  
  • *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 - North Dakota is not establishing its own ABLE program but providing information to residents who wish to open an account in another state. SB 2124, signed into law on 3/22/17, ensures that funds saved through an ABLE account are not considered when determining eligibility for local or state means-tested programs.
  • *Ohio (HB 155) - Signed into law by Governor on 7/16/15. On 5/25/16, HB 483 passed adding a personal income tax deduction for contributions to ABLE accounts.
  • *Oklahoma (HB 2821) - Signed into law by Governor on 6/6/16
  • *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. Another bill, SB 377, introduced in December 2016 would enable Texas to participate with a consortium of states to offer ABLE accounts.
  • *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. In addition, Item 3-5.11 of the 2016 Appropriations Act (House Bill 30, Chapter 780), which was signed into law on 5/20/16, established an individual income tax deduction for contributions to ABLE accounts. HB 1492, signed into law on 2/20/17, provides a court with the authority to order support payments to be made to a special needs trust or an ABLE savings trust account in child custody, visitation or child support cases.
  • *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 establishes 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 May 10, 2017: MASSACHUSETTS LAUNCHES ABLE PROGRAM

Massachusetts launched its ABLE program, the Attainable Savings Plan, on May 10, 2017. The program is administered by the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA) and managed by Fidelity Investments. A total of 21 states have launched ABLE programs to date. 

Update on April 4, 2017: FEDERAL ABLE IMPROVEMENT BILLS ARE REINTRODUCED IN THE 115TH CONGRESS

On April 4, 2017, three bills were reintroduced into the 115th Congress to amend the ABLE Act of 2014: the ABLE to Work Act, the ABLE Financial Planning Act and the ABLE Age Adjustment Act. NDSS supports all three bills. Click here for details.

Update on April 3, 2017: PENNSYLVANIA LAUNCHES ABLE PROGRAM

The state of Pennsylvania launched PA ABLE on April 3, 2017. 

Update on February 27, 2017: ALABAMA LAUNCHES ABLE PROGRAM

In partnership with Nebraska, Alabama launched the Enable Savings Plan Alabama on February 26, 2017. 

Update on February 22, 2017: VERMONT LAUNCHES ABLE PROGRAM

In partnership with Ohio's STABLE program, Vermont launched the Vermont ABLE program on February 22, 2017. This program is for residents of Vermont only. 

Update on January 26, 2017: SIX STATES LAUNCH ABLE PROGRAMS

Congratulations to Kansas, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada and North Carolina on the launch of their ABLE programs. These states are participating in the National ABLE Alliance, a partnership of states that have joined together to offer ABLE programs. All of these new programs are open to residents of any states.  A total of 16 states have opened ABLE programs to date.

Update on January 6, 2017: USDA ISSUES FINAL RULE EXCLUDING ABLE ACCOUNT FUNDS IN DETERMINING ELIBILITY FOR SNAP

On January 6, 2017, the Food and Nutrition Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a final rule that confirms that funds held in ABLE accounts may not be considered when determining eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP is a federally funded, means tested program that provides nutrition assistance to eligible, low income individuals and families. Click here to read the final rule. 

Update on December 19, 2016: NDSS ISSUES ABLE 2ND ANNIVERSARY REPORT AND VIRGINIA LAUNCHES ABLE PROGRAM

December 19 marks two years since President Obama signed the landmark Stephen Beck, Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. On this anniversary, NDSS is pleased to issue an updated anniversary report on ABLE past, present and future. The report includes the status of ABLE at the federal level and in the states and the history of ABLE. 

Also on December 19, Virginia launched ABLEnow becoming the tenth state to open an ABLE program. 

Update on December 16, 2016: RHODE ISLAND IS NINTH STATE TO LAUNCH AN ABLE PROGRAM

Rhode Island launched RI's ABLE on December 16, 2016. 

Update on December 15, 2016: ALASKA IS EIGHTH STATE TO LAUNCH AN ABLE PROGRAM

Alaska launched the Alaska ABLE Plan on December 15, 2016. 

Update on December 13, 2016: LAUNCH OF KENTUCKY ABLE PROGRAM

On December 13, 2016, the state of Kentucky launched its ABLE program, STABLE Kentucky, which is open to state residents only.  

Update on December 6, 2016: OREGON LAUNCHES TWO ABLE PROGRAMS

Oregon became the sixth state to launch an ABLE program. On December 6, 2016, Oregon launched the Oregon ABLE Savings Plan for Oregon residents and the ABLE for ALL Savings Plan for residents of any state.

Update on November 1, 2016: MICHIGAN IS FIFTH STATE TO LAUNCH AN ABLE PROGRAM

Michigan became the fifth state to open a state ABLE program with the launch of MiABLE on November 1, 2016.

Update on September 27, 2016: TWO FEDERAL ABLE IMPROVEMENT BILLS ARE MOVING FORWARD

NDSS is pleased that two of the federal ABLE improvement bills are advancing this Congress: 1) the ABLE to Work Act (HR 4795/S 2702) that would enable ABLE beneficiaries who work and earn income to save additional amounts in their ABLE accounts, and 2) the ABLE Financial Planning Act (HR 4794/S 2703) that would allow rollovers of 529 accounts to ABLE (529A) accounts. These bills have advanced from the Senate Finance Committee and now head to the Senate floor. NDSS encourages advocates to take action to encourage Members of Congress to cosponsor both the ABLE to Work Act and the ABLE Financial Planning Act.

NDSS is also supportive of the ABLE Age Adjustment Act (HR 4813/S 2704), which would raise the age of onset of disability from 26 to 46 enabling individuals who become disabled later in life to open ABLE accounts. This bill has not yet moved in the Senate due to the extremely high score (cost) on the bill, while the scores on both the ABLE to Work Act and the ABLE Financial Planning Act have been deemed tobe negligible. NDSS is working with our Congressional Champions to try to advance the ABLE Age Adjustment Act but the high cost may deter it from moving this session.

Update on July 8, 2016: NDSS RELEASES CHART COMPARING STATE ABLE PROGRAMS

As of July 8, 2016, four states have launched ABLE programs (Florida, Nebraska, Ohio and Tennessee). NDSS has released a chart comparing the details and features of each ABLE program to help self-advocates and families determine which program is best for them. 

Update on July 1, 2016: FLORIDA LAUNCHES ABLE PROGRAM FOR FLORIDA RESIDENTS

On July 1, Florida became the fourth state to launch a state ABLE program with the opening of ABLE United. Unlike the new ABLE programs in Ohio, Tennesse and Nebraska, Florida's program is only open to residents of Florida. 

Update on June 30, 2016: NEBRASKA IS THE THIRD STATE TO LAUNCH AN ABLE PROGRAM

Nebraska became the third  state to launch a state ABLE program with the launch of the Enable Savings Plan on June 30, 2016.

Update on June 13, 2016: TENNESSEE IS THE SECOND STATE TO LAUNCH AN ABLE PROGRAM

Following the launch of the Ohio ABLE program on June 1, 2016, Tennessee became the second state to launch an ABLE program on June 13. Details about the program are available at AbleTN.gov

Update on June 1, 2016: OHIO IS FIRST STATE TO LAUNCH AN ABLE PROGRAM

On June 1, 2016, Ohio became the first state in the US to launch an ABLE program. Ohio STABLE accounts are now available to any qualified individual in the US. For information on other state programs that will soon launch, please see the NDSS state ABLE program webpage.  

Update on March 17, 2016: INTRODUCTION OF THREE FEDERAL ABLE IMPROVEMENT BILLS

Members of the US House of Representatives and US Senate introduced a package of bills that would enhance the ABLE Act by making accounts more effective in promoting financial independence and more accessible to a wider population of the disability community. Click here for details about the three federal ABLE improvement bills.

Update on February 5, 2016: ABLE IMPLEMENTATION 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.

Update February 2016: LAUNCH OF ABLE ALLIANCE FOR FINANCIAL EMPOWERMENT

The ABLE Alliance for Financial Empowerment has launched. The new organization was created through the collaboration of national disability groups, policymakers and financial stakeholders committed to supporting individuals with disabilities in their efforts to achieve financial empowerment and economic independence. The Alliance was co-founded by NDSS President Sara Hart Weir and Charles Hammerman, President and CEO of the Disability Opportunity Fund. 

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. [Note: On December 19, 2016, NDSS issued an updated ABLE 2nd Anniversary Report.]

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, 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 NDSS at [email protected].

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 at [email protected] 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 here.

For More Information

For more information, please contact NDSS at [email protected].

Page last updated: May 12, 2017

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