LITTLE ROCK - During October, the Arkansas Treasurer’s office launched the Arkansas ABLE program. ABLE, which stands for Achieving a Better Life Experience, is a program that allows tax-advantaged investment accounts that help qualified individuals with disabilities and their families save for disability-related expenses.
Thousands of individuals with disabilities in Arkansas and their families depend on a wide variety of public benefits for income, health care, food, and housing, but in the past, these individuals could not save more than $2000 in order to remain eligible for this assistance. With the ABLE account, individuals with disabilities are able to save up to $14,000 in any given tax year without it affecting their eligibility for federally-funded benefits.
As the legislation was being proposed, leadership from Arkansas Rehabilitation Services (ARS), including Chief of Field Services Carl Daughtery, provided information to the General Assembly and to the Office of the Governor, that explained how having access to ABLE accounts could benefit individuals with disabilities as they worked and could save money.
ARS Deputy Commissioner Joe Baxter was a member of the committee and provided valuable input as they developed guidelines for the program and selected an administrator. “We are very excited for Arkansas Rehabilitation Services to have been a part of this process that will help people across the state save money to help pay for the extra expenses that are related to living with a disability. This is a wonderful program that will benefit many Arkansans,” Baxter said.
At a press conference, Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan launched the ABLE program for Arkansas and presented two high school students who will be able to benefit from this new program. Katy Mayberry, daughter of State Representative Julie Mayberry, who was integral in getting this legislation passed, and Kobe Roy, a North Little Rock student spoke about what this means to them and their future. Katy Mayberry was the first person in Arkansas to apply for an ABLE account.
For more information, visit the ABLE program website
(Photo: Katy Mayberry enrolls in the ABLE program)