Father and son laughingAs we’re over halfway into 2019, it seems like a good time to reflect on all the positive points that are continuing to build within the ABLE programs nationwide. For those unfamiliar, ABLE stands for Achieving a Better Life Experience, and the ABLE Act of 2014 established the foundation for states to create tax-advantaged savings accounts in which individuals with disabilities can save for qualified expenses. ABLE accounts promote the independence and well-being of their beneficiaries, and also remove barriers.

Since April 2018, 9 more states have launched ABLE programs, making a total of 42 states plus the District of Columbia that are committed to offering ABLE plans to eligible individuals. Early ABLE adoption rates are similar to rates experienced by 529 college savings plans in their early years. There continues to be steady growth with ABLE programs, and we expect more states to begin participating to give those with disabilities the ability to save.

Most recent data from Strategic Insight shows that 40,422 ABLE accounts are open across the country with $223.8 million in total savings as of the first quarter of 2019. It is encouraging to see these numbers because they highlight that individuals with disabilities are starting to move from financial insecurity to financial wellness. ABLE is an important transformative program that provides individuals with disabilities and their families with the tools they need to succeed, and states are committed to the long-term growth and success of their ABLE programs.

I am happy to say that many thousands of people with disabilities who were not saving before are now putting money aside to gain greater financial independence.  With more exciting changes potentially on the horizon, including the ABLE Age Adjustment Act, which proposes increasing the eligibility age for the onset of the disability from 26 to 46, ABLE programs will continue their expansion and growth in the coming year