Harlan Still & Koch

Gov. Nixon signs Missouri ABLE bill into law

It has been nearly a month since we discussed the Missouri Achieving a Better Life Experience Program, or ABLE. As we discussed back on June 2, the Missouri Legislature passed a bill to establish ABLE, a program through which disabled people can put up to $14,000 into a special account and thus qualify for disability benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income.

Most need-based government programs limit the amount of income the applicant’s household brings in. But in many cases, this limit is quite low; many people struggle with incomes above the maximum that nevertheless may be quite close to poverty.

To make it easier for those who would otherwise qualify for disability benefits, Congress passed the 2014 ABLE Act, directing state governments to allow individuals and families to create 529 savings accounts. That led to Missouri’s ABLE bill. In an update to our June 2 post, that bill became law after Gov. Jay Nixon signed it on June 29.

The Missouri ABLE program will allow individuals or married couples to make tax-deductible contributions to the account, up to $8,000 for an individual or $16,000 for a married couple. Besides being tax-free, the 529 accounts do not count toward the disabled individual’s assets; thus, the contributions do not affect his or her ability to qualify for need-based benefits.

At the signing ceremony, which was attended by several supporters, Nixon called helping children with disabilities “a human issue,” and said he wanted that all children have the right to reach their potential, according to the Southeast Missourian.

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