HARRISBURG – Caring for a loved one with disabilities can be difficult physically and emotionally. This is compounded by the steep financial challenges involved. But families could be given a tool to help if a tax-free savings plan proposed by Sen. Lisa Baker (R-20) is approved.
Currently, it extremely difficult to set aside money to meet obligations or create opportunities for disabled individuals without jeopardizing their benefits. A federal law signed in December – the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act – gives Pennsylvania the flexibility to offer an ABLE savings program, similar to the popular and successful tuition accounts many have taken advantage of over the last 20 years. Qualified expenses would include education, housing, transportation, and employment. Funds would supplement, but not replace, services provided through private insurance, Medicaid, SSI, employment, and other sources.
“We are changing policy to encourage and support family initiative and responsibility to help people gain as much independence as their abilities allow,” Baker said. “Their efforts will be rewarded rather than penalized and discouraged.”
SB 879 passed the Senate unanimously and now heads to the House for consideration.
Andrew M. Seder