Governor Pence Enacts Indiana ABLE Act

How would you prepare for the future of your child if they had a disability?  That’s what mother of two and disabilities advocate Erika Steuterman talked about to an Indiana House Committee this past February.  Ms. Steuterman was testifying in favor of SEA 11, the Indiana ABLE Act, which authorizes Indiana State Treasurer Kelly Mitchell to develop a 529-type savings account program for Hoosiers with physical and intellectual disabilities. “I prepare for my college-bound daughter’s future by making contributions to her 529 college savings account,” said Ms. Steuterman.  “The Indiana ABLE Act will allow me to prepare for the future of my child with disabilities in the same way.”

Surrounded by disability advocates and legislative sponsors Sen. Luke Kenley and Rep. Ed Clere, Gov. Mike Pence signs the Indiana ABLE Act. Indiana joins nearly 40 other states that have passed similar authorizing legislation.
Surrounded by disabilities advocates and legislative sponsors Sen. Luke Kenley and Rep. Ed Clere, Gov. Mike Pence signs the Indiana ABLE Act.  Indiana joins nearly 40 other states that have enacted similar legislation.

Today in the Statehouse rotunda, Governor Mike Pence signed SEA 11 into law surrounded by self-advocates, Treasurer Mitchell and legislative sponsors.  Mitchell enthusiastically shared with the crowd that “it was time for her office to get to work” to develop the ABLE program for Indiana.  Her office will sponsor additional legislation in the 2017 Indiana General Assembly to implement the program.

The Indiana ABLE Act (Achieving a Better Life Experience) is in follow-up to the federal ABLE Act which President Obama signed into law in December, 2014.  The federal legislation amended the Internal Revenue Service Code to allow use of tax-free savings accounts for individuals with disabilities.  Anyone may contribute to an ABLE account on behalf of an eligible person.  Account funds may be used for benefit of the designated beneficiary and related to his/her disability including education, housing, transportation, employment training and support, assistive technology and personal support services, health, prevention and wellness, financial management and administrative services, legal fees, expenses for oversight and monitoring, funeral and burial expenses, and other expenses.

IAAAA testified in favor of the ABLE Act in Indiana House and Senate committee hearings.  Approximately 20% of the persons Indiana Area Agencies on Aging serve are persons with disabilities under the age of 65, from birth through adulthood.