NEW JERSEY – Legislation sponsored by Senator Anthony M. Bucco that would help families provide financial support for family members with disabilities was endorsed by the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee Thursday.
Bucco’s bill, S-690, titled the New Jersey Disability Savings Act, would expand the New Jersey Achieving a Better Life Experience Program (ABLE) with the addition of benefits that would make it easier and more attractive for individuals with disabilities and their families to save money for disability-related expenses.
“The ABLE program provides a terrific opportunity to save money for disability-related expenditures without jeopardizing Social Security disability payments or Medicaid,” said Bucco (R-25). “For those living with disabilities and their parents, concerns about money and paying for vital services in the future can be overwhelming. Strengthening the existing program will help entice more families to participate and benefit from the opportunity.”
Under Bucco’s bill, the State would provide matching funds up to $1,000 to incentivize residents to save in the plan and contribute an additional $500 for every $25,000 saved. In addition, all contributions to a qualifying New Jersey ABLE account would be fully deductible on a state tax return.
“We want to make the state’s ABLE program as advantageous a savings vehicle as the State’s NJBEST 529 College Savings Program,” Bucco said. “For those in a position to put some money aside for the care of a loved one, this is a no-brainer, and for families where money is tight, it can help eliminate some sleepless nights and worry about the future.”
Money deposited in an ABLE account can be used for qualifying disability-related expenses, including transportation, housing, education, assistive technology, legal fees, and personal support services. Distributions from the account are not subject to federal tax, provided the distribution does not exceed the individual’s disability-related expenses for the year.