The ABLE Act addresses the needs of individuals with disabilities. The bill’s sponsor, Georgia Legislator Lee Hawkins (R-27) said, “This legislation provides our disabled citizens the opportunity to earn a pay check in addition to retaining their disability income and possibly to live independently.”
All About Developmental Disabilities, a nonprofit organization leading a coalition in support of the bill, believes the problem is individuals with disabilities face significant barriers. According to AADD’s Executive Director Kathy Keeley disabled individuals face challenges like holding employment and living independently.
Access to critical safety-net programs can be lost once they establish even a minimal level of savings. This results in a disincentive to work and obstacles to living in the community,
“The ABLE Act helps disabled individuals work, save, and live as independently without losing access to Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income and other means-tested benefits,” Keeley said.
HB 768 was perfected to comply with recent changes to the federal ABLE law and approved by national ABLE experts from Autism Speaks, National Down Syndrome Associations and the National Disability Institute, all supporters of ABLE efforts across the country.
The program will be administered by the Georgia ABLE Corp. and governed by a board of directors consisting of the Commissioner of Community Health, the Commissioner of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, the State Auditor, the State Treasurer and three members appointed by the Governor.
The Corporation is assigned to the Department of Administrative Services for administrative purposes only and the Georgia ABLE Program Trust Fund – which will receive all payments and contributions – shall be located in the Office of the State Treasurer where the funds will be invested by the Treasure pursuant to the investment plan adopted by the ABLE Program Board. Georgia may also participate jointly with other states with ABLE programs to raise the necessary assets required to fund programs.
“We are delighted that the Georgia House passed the bill this week with a vote of 161-0 and we encourage our state senators to vote for the bill as well,” Keeley said.
For more information visit the AADD website, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages.