As your state representative, it is my job to represent the voices of each individual in my district. It is vitally important to speak for the disabled and make sure their needs are addressed at the Ohio Statehouse. My priority remains giving every person an equal opportunity to succeed—especially those with special needs.
During this General Assembly, our efforts on behalf Ohioans with special needs came via the passage of House Bill 155. Also known as the Ohio ABLE (Achieve a Better Living Experience) Act, this legislation allows individuals with disabilities to create tax-advantaged accounts which allows them to have accounts not subject to federal income tax. STABLE accounts are investment accounts, operating in a similar manner to some college saving or retirement accounts. While money can still be withdrawn and deposited, the account gives users the ability to grow and save their money for long-term expenses.
Living with a disability often brings with it additional costs for healthcare, transportation, technology, and even basic living expenses. Those who have such special needs still deserve the right to more independence and financial security, and STABLE accounts provide that opportunity. Additionally, the act protects these individuals from losing certain needs-based benefits, such as Medicaid, because STABLE account funds will not count against your eligibility for federal benefits programs.
The program is administered through the Ohio Treasurer’s office and was officially launched this past June, making Ohio the first state to offer these accounts to those with disabilities and their families. Deposits are easily made online, by the account holder or a family member, and a debit card can be obtained to assist in other transactions. The Ohio ABLE Act is a simple and common-sense resource which can be utilized by those with a higher cost of living due to a disability.
I was proud to stand behind House Bill 155 when it passed through the Ohio House in 2015, so it is particularly rewarding to witness the program’s successful development and official launch. I am confident this bill will help those individuals in Richland County and throughout Ohio with disabilities have a higher quality of life and be more financially independent. If you would like to learn more about the STABLE program, please go to: http://www.stableaccount.com/.