Legislators sort bill that will help people with disabilities pay certain expenses

State Reps. Whit Betts (R-78) and Cara Pavalock (R-77) supported legislation in the House of Representatives to create a tax-free savings account (H.B. 6738), allowing people with disabilities to pay certain expenses in a state program modeled after the federally-proposed legislation: Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE).

Pavalock, a member of the legislature’s Program Review and Investigations committee, according to a press release from House Republicans, said the proposal would expand upon current regulations to also allow these savings accounts to be exempt from state taxes. “I am proud to have worked with the committee on expanding this program, which provides much needed financial assistance to our Connecticut residents in need. Families will now have another resource to assist them in providing the best care for their disabled loved ones,” said Rep. Pavalock.

The bill, which passed the House unanimously, exempts money in the trust and interest earnings from state and local taxation, and requires the treasurer to ensure that funds are kept exempt from federal taxation. ABLE funds must be disregarded when determining eligibility for federal assistance.

Many families who currently do not qualify for government subsidies due to income are left to fend for themselves, said the press release. By creating state tax-free ABLE accounts, the release said, families with children who have disabilities will be able to save for the many extra costs of living with a disability. The release said it allows for eligible individuals and families to establish ABLE savings accounts that will not affect their eligibility for benefits.

“For many of our disabled citizens, there are significant costs associated with everyday living expenses. This legislation will go a long way toward helping individuals pay for housing, support and wellness services, transportation, and many others. It will also help the elder parents of adult disabled children with planning and saving for their future care,” said Betts, a member of the Intellectual and Developmental Disabled legislative caucus., according to the press release

Expenses would qualify as disability-related if they are for the benefit of an individual with a disability and are related to the disability. They include education; housing; transportation; employment support; health, prevention, and wellness costs; assistive technology and personal support services; and other expenses.

The proposed bill passed the House of Representatives unanimously and now heads to the State Senate for further action.

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