Expanding STABLE Accounts to more Ohioans
By: Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague
March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, a time to discuss the inclusion of people with developmental disabilities and the barriers they may face in connecting to their communities. There’s also no better time to highlight how the STABLE Account program is changing lives– and how the business community can be a partner.
Before passage of the federal Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, people with disabilities could only save a total of $2,000 before they would lose their means-tested benefits such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Disability-related expenses can pose a financial burden to many people and their families, and the old rules discouraged them from saving and investing. The ABLE Act authorized the creation of 529-like plans that act as specialized savings and investment accounts for people with disabilities that won’t cause them to lose benefits.
Through the STABLE Account program, people with disabilities are now more easily able to join the workforce and save what they earn. They are using that money to live more independently; buying cars, paying rent, and even putting down payments on their first homes. Impactful stories like these are why we’re reaching out to more Ohioans to get them enrolled.
Since the program was launched in Ohio in 2016, we’ve been the national leader in ABLE accounts. STABLE accounts were the first of their kind, and today, over a quarter of all ABLE accounts across the country are STABLE accounts. We’ve seen tremendous growth in the number of STABLE accounts over the last year. In fact, we recently surpassed 15,000 total active accounts.
Earnings on a STABLE account grow tax-free and are not subject to federal income tax, so long as the funds are spent on Qualified Disability Expenses. These expenses include education, housing, transportation, healthcare, assistive technology, basic living expenses, and many other items.
Over the last year, the Treasurer’s office has announced partnerships with multiple employers to offer a direct deposit for employees. So far, the State of Ohio, City of Cincinnati, Edison Community College, and UCO Industries allow eligible employees to directly deposit a portion of their paycheck into a STABLE account for either themselves or a family member. These partnerships are part of our ongoing efforts to make STABLE accounts more easily accessible to more Ohioans.
Our STABLE team is ready to assist in making the direct deposit option available to your employees. If your organization is interested in offering this benefit to employees at no cost, or, if you would like any more information about STABLE accounts, please feel free to contact the STABLE team directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.