Achieving a Better Life Experience for People With Disabilities (CalABLE)
California Achieving a Better Life Experience Act Board (CalABLE)

Status Update

CalABLE Goes Live December 18, 2018!

The CalABLE Program will officially launch on December 18, 2018. As of that date, CalABLE’s enrollment website at www.CalABLE.ca.gov will be accepting new enrollees. Instructions on how to enroll will also be easily located on the website.

To mark the launch of the program, CalABLE will hold two kickoff events with State Treasurer John Chiang, disability organizations and CalABLE enrollees – one on December 18 in Berkeley and another on December 19 in Los Angeles. To learn more about the events and/or to RSVP, click here. Please note that the kickoff events will be media events with a celebratory focus, including remarks by elected officials and stakeholders. While the website will be open for new accounts, CalABLE staff will not have the ability to enroll new account holders into the program at these events. CalABLE staff will, however, host a 30-minute Q&A session at the events’ conclusion to help answer program related questions.

If you’d like to receive program updates, such as information on upcoming information sessions or webinars, please subscribe to our email listserv at this link. You can also follow us on Facebook.

For more information, contact us by email at calable@treasurer.ca.gov or by phone at (916) 653-1728.

 

Sincerely,

Dante Allen, Executive Director

 

About the California Achieving a Better Life Experience (CalABLE) Program

For many people with disabilities, the fear of losing critical public benefits, coupled with the high cost of support expenses, has limited them from building financial security.

Until recently, individuals receiving federal benefits have been restricted in the amount of money they can save, essentially keeping them in poverty and preventing them from planning for the future. With the Stephen Beck Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, signed into federal law by the President, these thresholds are no longer an obstacle.

In 2015, Governor Brown signed the California ABLE Act into law, which allows qualified individuals with disabilities and their families to open tax-free savings accounts without the worry of losing vital government assistance. This law establishes the California ABLE Act Board, which will administer the CalABLE Program.

The CalABLE Program will open up life-improving opportunities for people with disabilities and their families in much the same way California’s ScholarShare 529 plans formed educational opportunities for the state’s students.

Contributions to an ABLE account, currently limited to $15,000 per year, can be made by family, friends, or the beneficiary themselves. The account’s earnings are allowed to accumulate tax-free, and the withdrawals, provided they are applied to qualifying disability expenses, are tax-free.

Read more about the CalABLE Program by accessing our Fact Sheet.

Benefits

One of the largest benefits afforded by the ABLE Act is the ability to exclude certain assets from federal means-tested programs. As an example, in order for an individual to obtain Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the countable resources must be worth not more than $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a couple.

Savings held in an ABLE account, up to a $100,000 limit, are not counted against the $2,000 limit on personal assets for individuals to qualify for SSI and other public benefits.

In essence, the ABLE Act has increased the cap for countable assets from $2,000 to $100,000 for people with disabilities seeking eligibility for SSI.

Implementation

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules for determining program eligibility were finalized in November of 2015.

The Board received program funding in July of 2016 to begin development and implementation of the CalABLE Program.

Staff is currently in the process of ensuring that a vast coalition of stakeholders and impacted state, local and federal agencies are all involved in the development of this savings plan. Interested parties are encouraged to participate in the program design and implementation process. Connect with us via email, our Emma distribution list or on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or YouTube.

 

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