Gov. Jay Nixon

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Paraquad commends Gov. Jay Nixon on signing the Missouri Achieving a Better Life (ABLE) Act into law. Nixon’s signature on Monday represents an important step toward increasing economic self-sufficiency and upward mobility for some Missourians with disabilities.

“The ABLE Act is a historic piece of legislation. We’ve ended the forced impoverishment of some people with disabilities. The ABLE Act ensures people who acquired a disability prior to the age of 26 and their families are able to save for necessities without negatively impacting access to benefits,” said Cathy Brown, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at Paraquad.

Eligible individuals and their families can establish tax-advantaged savings accounts that will not affect their eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid and other public benefits. Funds in ABLE accounts can be used to pay for qualified disability expenses such as housing, transportation, education, assistive technology, employment training and support, health care expenses and personal support services.

“People with disabilities are twice as likely as any other minority group to live in poverty. It’s expensive to have a disability. The leadership of Sen. Eric Schmitt, who championed the bill in the Missouri Legislature, and Gov. Nixon’s signature represent two missing puzzle pieces finally being in place,” Brown said.

Marcos Rendon, a Paraquad participant who has had a disability his entire life, is a high school student preparing to transition to college and/or training. He is also a recipient of a sizable trust fund around his disability.

“The ABLE account would provide a way for me to save for things I might need in the future,” Rendon said.

For Rendon, establishing a savings account is especially important in case his trust becomes depleted, which is possible considering that the cost of power wheelchairs can range between $16,000 and $36,000.

Paraquad encourages legislators to leverage the momentum of the Missouri ABLE Act and continue to address other key economic issues for the disability community, including increasing the Medicaid asset limit, which hasn’t been raised for nearly 50 years.

“With the ABLE Act, we’ve taken a huge step toward the continued independence of people with disabilities,” Brown said. “But we need to allow people with disabilities to keep more of their own money to meet their own expenses instead of ‘spending down’ month after month to 85 percent of the federal poverty level. We need to create a pathway to economic independence for all people with disabilities.”

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About Paraquad:
Founded in 1970, Paraquad is the leading disability services provider in the St. Louis region. One of the oldest Centers for Independent Living in the country, Paraquad’s mission is to empower people with disabilities to increase their independence through choice and opportunity. A key focus is to make St. Louis more accessible for all people by advocating, building awareness and delivering comprehensive services.

Press Contacts:
Kevin Condon
kcondon@paraquad.org
(314) 289-4348 or (314) 805-1556

Jacob Kuerth
jkuerth@paraquad.org
(314) 289-4371 or (314) 957-8364

4 comments on “Gov. Nixon Signs Missouri ABLE Act Into Law”

  1. 1
    Elizabeth Frater on July 6, 2015

    When does this bill take effect? I have a disabled child that could benefit from it. Thanks

    1. 2
      Paraquad on July 7, 2015

      Gov. Nixon’s signature authorized the Missouri State Treasurer’s office and the Missouri ABLE Board to administer the ABLE program. Our Public Policy and Advocacy Department estimates that eligible individuals and their families should be able to create accounts in nine months to a year.

  2. 3
    Jean Hoover on September 19, 2016

    How does one prove their disability was present before age 26? Specifically, my Multiple Sclerosis symptoms were present from about the age of 7 yrs old, but not officially diagnosed until I was near a major medical center in Los Angeles CA when I was age 26 or 27. I am disabled and have been on SSI since 1999. Could I qualify an account under the ABLE Act?

    1. 4
      Paraquad on September 19, 2016

      Hi Jean. Thanks for your question. Someone from our Public Policy and Advocacy team should be reaching out to you shortly.

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