From a press release
Treasurer Stacy Garrity has been elected as the inaugural Chair of the new ABLE Savings Plan Network (ASPN), a group formed by the National Association of State Treasurers. ABLE programs allow Americans with disabilities to save tax-free without affecting their eligibility for means-tested government benefits.
“ABLE accounts help Americans with disabilities live more independently and enjoy better financial security,” Garrity said. “I’m honored to lead this new organization to advance the reach of ABLE programs. We’re all dedicated to making sure these programs are accessible and affordable, and I will be a tireless advocate to ensure our ABLE programs are successful and continue to grow and help more Americans.”
The Stephen Beck Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, passed in 2014, allowing states to create ABLE programs. It was sponsored by U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.)
“ABLE programs help Americans with disabilities save for the future and work towards financial security. I can fortunately say that these programs are benefiting Pennsylvanians every day, helping them lead independent lives,” said Senator Casey. “Treasurer Garrity is knowledgeable and well-qualified for this position. I have faith that she will work to ensure the accessibility of these programs to Pennsylvanians with disabilities.”
ASPN will provide strategic leadership on advancing ABLE accounts by monitoring federal actions, including any legislative or regulatory changes, that impact state ABLE plans, developing strategies to improve ABLE plans at the federal level, and analyzing best practices for those with an eligible disability who want to save and invest for a better life, achieve financial empowerment, and prepare for a more independent future.
Pennsylvania’s ABLE program – PA ABLE – is the largest in the 19-member National ABLE Alliance, accounting for nearly 25 percent of total assets, and one of the largest ABLE programs nationwide. More than 7,000 PA ABLE account owners have saved more than $71 million for disability-related expenses. The program was created with instrumental support from state Sen. Lisa Baker (R-Susquehanna/Wayne/Wyoming), and the first PA ABLE accounts were opened in 2017.
“We are proud of the bipartisan work done to establish and implement a very effective and popular program here in Pennsylvania,” Baker said. “Since becoming state treasurer, Stacy Garrity has been a champion of expanding eligibility for the program, especially with a focus on assisting veterans, and encouraging more families to sign up for the advantages it offers. It is appropriate that her organizational, fiscal, and advocacy skills will now be deployed on a national basis.”
To be eligible for PA ABLE, a person’s disability must have occurred prior to their 26th birthday. PA ABLE account owners can save and pay for short- or long-term disability related expenses including education, housing, transportation, assistive technology, health care, financial management, and more.
Casey has introduced the ABLE Age Adjustment Act in Congress, which would raise the eligibility to those whose disability occurs by age 46. This would expand ABLE account access to about 6 million more Americans, including an estimated 1 million disabled veterans. The legislation is cosponsored by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) A House version has also been introduced and is cosponsored by 17 members of the Pennsylvania delegation.
“I’m a strong supporter of the ABLE Age Adjustment Act and will work with other members of ASPN to urge Congress to approve it and President Biden to sign it,” Garrity said. “It’s a great bill that will benefit many of the brave men and women who have served in our military. It’s time to get it done.”