California State Treasurer John Chiang and other officials Wednesday announced the launch of a program that will allow individuals with disabilities to open tax-advantaged savings and investment accounts and contribute significantly more than the $2,000 they are currently allowed to save under rules for many government programs.
CalABLE, short for California's Achieving a Better Life Experience program, is an improvement over past practices, as individuals could be penalized if they maintained more than $2,000 in a bank account, Chiang said.
"Today, as we band together in a season in which so many celebrate life and our highest ideals, we are announcing the long overdue steps California is taking to help individuals with disabilities achieve a better life experience," Chiang said at the launch event at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.
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"CalABLE will empower people with disabilities to create their own safety net and build wealth because living with a disability should not equate to living life on the brink of poverty," he said. "As Californians, we care about our fellow human beings, and CalABLE is a statement of those values."
After opening an account, eligible individuals for CalABLE will be able to contribute $15,000 a year -- up to a maximum of $529,000 -- into an ABLE account, while still maintaining such benefits as Medi-Cal and CalFresh.
Those who wish to remain eligible for Supplemental Security Income can contribute the annual $15,000, up to $100,000, into an ABLE account without the funds counting as assets.
"CalABLE is a program rooted in social equity and financial equality, and will finally help create a level playing field for Californians with disabilities," said Treasurer-elect and Board of Equalization member Fiona Ma.