MARYLAND ABLE OPENS FOR ENROLLMENT
Baltimore, MD (November 28, 2017) — Marylanders with disabilities now have a new way to save for the future. Maryland 529 is pleased to announce the launch of Maryland ABLE, an innovative and landmark investment program that offers individuals with disabilities the opportunity to save money without jeopardizing access to federal and state means-tested benefits. The Stephen Beck, Jr., Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014 (“ABLE”) is a federal law which allows states to establish and maintain these accounts. The Maryland ABLE Act was signed into law by Governor Larry Hogan on April 12, 2016.
Established in partnership with the State of Oregon and Sumday Administration, LLC, Maryland ABLE is now accepting online enrollment to its diverse financial investment options available through an accessible, easy-to-use website. With access to online account customization, account management, online recordkeeping, and a specialized customer service team, Maryland ABLE anticipates reaching a large number of eligible Marylanders with disabilities.
“The launch of the Maryland ABLE program is a culmination of a bipartisan effort by citizens, advocates, and lawmakers working together to ensure that Marylanders with disabilities have the ability to save money while maintaining access to important benefits,” said Governor Hogan. “This new program will offer the financial security that so many families and individuals need, and is one more way in which we are changing Maryland for the better.”
"I am thrilled to see Maryland's ABLE program launch after working for several sessions on the legislation to create this much needed financial tool,” stated Senator Brian Feldman, one of the Maryland ABLE bill sponsors in 2016, “ABLE accounts may assist up to 50,000 disabled Marylanders and their families in setting aside money on a tax-advantaged basis that can be used to support their health, independence and a better quality of life."
ABLE accounts across the nation allow for up to $14,000 in annual contributions (increasing to $15,000 in 2018), the opportunity to save up to $100,000 before impacting Social Security Income (SSI) cash benefits, the opportunity to grow assets tax free, and the opportunity to withdrawal funds tax free as long as the money is used for qualified disability expenses.
“The ABLE Act will make a positive difference in the lives of thousands of Marylanders with disabilities. It will help provide the resources they need to save for the future and be successful” noted Senator Craig Zucker, sponsor of the 2016 Maryland ABLE bill.
Features of the Maryland ABLE plan include the opportunity to save up to $350,000 over the lifetime of the account, access to an income deduction on Maryland State taxes of up to $2,500 for account contributions per beneficiary, and a minimum initial contribution of $25 to open the account. Once the investment options are chosen, there will be a $35 annual account maintenance fee and additional asset-based fees charged indirectly to the portfolio assets. Maryland ABLE will offer one FDIC-insured cash option and three investment options with distinct investment objectives, allowing Marylanders the freedom to pay for today’s needed disability expenses while saving for the future. In addition, Maryland ABLE will unroll a Prepaid MasterCard option in early 2018.
“Maryland ABLE offers individuals with disabilities the opportunity to save money in a way not possible before. I believe that for many, this will lead to greater personal empowerment and a financial freedom that was previously not attainable,” said Nancy Kopp, Maryland State Treasurer and Chair of the Maryland 529 Board. “I’m delighted to see this culmination of advocacy and hard work result in a program that will positively impact the personal financial goals of so many Marylanders with disabilities.”
Maryland is among a select group of states offering ABLE programs across the United States. For more information on Maryland ABLE and to enroll, visit www.marylandable.org.