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New plan to help disabled save without losing benefits


PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A new state program will soon allow Oregonians with disabilities save money without fear of losing their state or federal benefits.

KNKX-FM ( ) reports that Oregon lawmakers created the new saving program following the passage of a 2014 federal law, which paved the way for people with disabilities to open tax-advantage savings accounts without disqualifying them from their benefits.

The program is open to anyone who was diagnosed with a disability before the age of 26. Individuals can contribute up to $14,000 a year. The money in the plans can be used tax-free on qualified disability-related expenses.

The state will begin rolling out the new program, dubbed the “Oregon ABLE Savings Plan,” on Dec. 6.

Here’s the Oregon Treasury Department’s full news release:

SALEM – Oregonians with disabilities will be able to save money without fear of losing their vital state and federal benefits starting Dec. 6.

The Oregon ABLE Savings Plan is a financial empowerment tool that will allow individuals with disabilities and their families to save money for disability related expenses. Using an ABLE account, they can save for their daily needs or invest money for tomorrow .

Before Congress and the Oregon State Legislature paved the way for the creation of ABLE plans in 2015, people with disabilities were functionally forced to live in poverty if they wanted to remain eligible for vital means-tested benefits, like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income, which required the individual to have less than $2,000 in savings and investments.

With Oregon ABLE , that is no longer the case. Money contributed to an ABLE account does not count against any asset limits for state and federal benefits.

“People with disabilities face greater challenges and expenses throughout their lives,” said Michael Parker, executive director of the Oregon 529 Savings Network, which administers the plan . “The Oregon ABLE Savings Plan will help them meet those challenges and hopefully lead to a better quality of life.”

The Oregon ABLE Savings Plan will provide Oregonians with disabilities an intuitive and simple way to save while providing tools and support to achieve financial empowerment.

Using the Oregon ABLE Savings Plan , Oregonians will receive several tax advantages, including a state income tax deduction and tax-free earnings on investments that are spent on disability-related expenses, like housing, education, medical expenses and more.

People can sign up for the plan starting Dec. 6 at As an added incentive, Oregonians who open an Oregon ABLE Savings Plan account before January 1 , 2018, will receive a 50 percent discount on the annual fee.

To celebrate this milestone for the disability community, the Oregon ABLE Savings Plan will host free launch events throughout the state to celebrate and answer questions in person. Those events will take place during the first two weeks of December.

A Portland event on Dec. 6 will feature brief speeches from key individuals who helped make ABLE a reality, opportunities to sign up for the plan , food, crafts and a photo booth. Media will be able to interview plan participants, Oregon ABLE Savings Plan leaders, legislators and Chris Rodriguez, senior public policy advisor of the National Disability Institute and the director of the ABLE National Resource Center.

State Treasurer Ted Wheeler, who oversees the Oregon 529 Savings Network, applauded the network’s successful efforts to work with nonprofits and other state agencies to design and launch one of the nation’s first ABLE plans, centered on the needs of the disability community.

Go to for a full calendar of events and more in-depth information about ABLE . Follow us on Twitter @OregonABLE.

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