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.
"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.