October 14, 2016
The Stephen Beck, Jr. ABLE Act (Achieving a Better Life Experience) was conceived and championed by Stephen Beck, Jr., a Virginia father of a daughter with Down’s Syndrome, who thought up a new way to allow disabled people to save money without impacting their qualification for Medicaid and SSI benefits. The Act was signed into law by President Obama on December 19, 2014. This Act’s purpose is to provide a new account type specifically for special needs individuals which enables them to save money without losing their needs-based public benefits like Medicaid and SSI.
Under the ABLE Act, the individual states set up the savings program for people with disabilities. This savings program is similar to how 529 college savings accounts work. With certain restrictions, an account can be established for use by a beneficiary with special needs. On April 1, 2016, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley signed SC’s ABLE Act-enacting legislation into law.