STABLE Accounts now available - Jun 2, 2016
Ohio became the first state in the nation to offer savings accounts established by the federal Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. These new accounts, called STABLE accounts, allow people with disabilities to save and invest money without losing eligibility for certain public benefit programs like Medicaid, Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income.
Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, who unveiled the program at a June 1 press conference, said it is about independence and financial security. Mandel credited the hard work of Chip Gerhardt, a Cincinnati father and board member of the National Down Syndrome Society, and the Southwest Ohio delegation in the state legislature for making STABLE accounts a reality for families.
Gerhardt, whose daughter Annie has Down syndrome, said this idea came from conversations with other parents 10 years ago. It was hard work to get the ABLE Act through the U.S. Congress, he said, but well worth it. “It’s really going to be life changing – not only for me and Jane (his wife) but especially for Annie,” he said.
Ohio Rep. Jonathan Dever (R-28th Dist.) was one of the legislators who helped get these accounts set up in Ohio. Being a leader with this legislation, he said, means Ohio lawmakers acknowledge and understand what individuals with disabilities and their families go through. “This is a game changer for families,” he said. “It says equality of opportunity is real for everyone.”
Those enrolled in STABLE Accounts can use the money to help pay for qualified expenses related to having a disability, which can include medical, transportation, education, assistive technology and more. Ohio has set up a website, www.stableaccount.com, for people to learn more and sign up for an account.