ABLE Savings Plan provides savings for disabled families

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ABLE Savings Plan provides savings for disabled families

6:11 p.m. PST December 6, 2016

Medications, a wheelchair, legal fees and special parking permits are a few of many things someone with a disability may have to pay for on a regular basis. The expenses can pile up quickly.

Individuals and families with special needs have had to keep their expenses and assets below $2,000 if they wanted any government benefits — until now.

The Oregon 529 Savings Board launched the Oregon ABLE Savings Plan Tuesday.

ABLE is a tax-advantage savings plan that will allow individuals with disabilities and their families to save for disability-related expenses without disqualifying them for state and federal benefits, like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

The money can be used for multiple things, including living expenses, education, housing (including rent), transportation, employment training and personal support services.

Without ABLE, people living with disabilities and their families do not qualify for those benefits when their assets reach $2,000.

“By using an ABLE plan, individuals who depend on these benefits will no longer be forced into poverty in order to continue qualifying for them,” said Michael Parker, executive director of the Oregon 529 Savings Network.

Parker said families often make sacrifices, like cutting down work hours or withholding money from one child’s account — in order to continue receiving needed coverage.

“This has been so long coming,” Parker said.

For 10 years, disabled Americans have been fighting for ABLE, the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act.

In December of 2014, President Barack Obama signed the ABLE Act into law.

Eight months later, Governor Kate Brown signed Senate Bill 777, directing the Oregon 529 Savings Board to establish an ABLE plan.

Since then, the network has been working with organizations throughout the state to tailor the plan to the needs of people with disabilities.

To see if you are eligible, to open an account or for more information, go to oregonablesavings.com or call 844-999-ABLE.

Contact Natalie at npate@StatesmanJournal.com, 503-399-6745, or follow her on Twitter @Nataliempate, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/nataliepatejournalist or on the Web at nataliepate.com

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