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Georgia Legislature Passes HB768, the ABLE Act, Easing Financial Strains Faced by Georgians with Disabilities
All About Developmental Disabilities Worked with Rep. Lee Hawkins (R-Gainesville) and a Coalition of Advocacy Groups on the Bill
ATLANTA, April 7, 2016 -- Late in the evening on March 24, the Georgia Legislature passed HB768, the ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) Act. The bill, which would allow private savings for people with serious disabilities to support their independence in the community, now goes to Governor Deal for his signature.
“We want to thank Rep. Lee Hawkins (R-Gainesville), the author of the bill, and Senator Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody) who carried the bill in the Senate,” said Kathy Keeley, executive director of All About Developmental Disabilities, the nonprofit that led a coalition of advocacy groups in support of the bill.
Individuals with disabilities face significant barriers to finding and holding employment and living independently because their access to critical safety-net programs can be lost once they establish even a minimal level of savings. This results in a disincentive to work and obstacles to living in the community.
The ABLE Act would help eligible individuals with disabilities to work, save for qualified disability expenses, and live as independently as possible without losing access to Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income and other means-tested benefits.
More About the ABLE Act
The Georgia ABLE Act would operate under federal authorization legislation passed in 2014 to make a tax advantaged savings account available to cover qualified expenses. Those would include education, housing, and transportation for people with serious disabilities.
Structured similar to a higher education 529 savings account, an ABLE account may be used to fund a variety of essential expenses for eligible individuals with disabilities, including medical and dental care, education, community-based supports, employment training and support, assistive technology, housing and transportation.
About All About Developmental Disabilities
All About Developmental Disabilities (AADD) is a Georgia non-profit organization dedicated to providing family support, advocacy and training opportunities for individuals and families living with developmental disabilities. Developmental disabilities are defined as severe chronic intellectual and/or physical disabilities that limit three or more critical functional abilities. Examples include Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, autism disorders, fetal alcohol disorders and intellectual disabilities. For more information, go to www.AADD.org or call us at (404) 881-9777.###