PA 17-124—sHB 7032

Banking Committee

AN ACT REGARDING THE OFFICE OF THE STATE TREASURER'S RECOMMENDED REVISIONS TO THE ACHIEVING A BETTER LIFE EXPERIENCE PROGRAM

SUMMARY: This act allows the state treasurer to contract with another state to provide Connecticut residents with access to the other state's federally qualified Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) account program. By law, the treasurer must establish such a program in Connecticut, but the Connecticut program has not yet been implemented.

The act also allows any eligible owner of a federally qualified ABLE account to be its designated beneficiary. Under prior law, a beneficiary had to be either a resident of Connecticut or a state without an ABLE account program which had contracted with Connecticut to provide ABLE accounts to its residents.

By law, the treasurer must annually report to the Finance and Public Health committees on the Connecticut Achieving a Better Life Experience trust, which among other things, holds payments and deposits intended for ABLE accounts. The act requires that the report, which must be made available to depositors and designated beneficiaries, include any contract with another state to provide ABLE account access to Connecticut residents.

The act also makes technical and conforming changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2017 except for the changes regarding designated beneficiaries and certain minor and technical changes, which take effect upon passage.

BACKGROUND

ABLE and Federal Law

The 2014 federal ABLE Act allows states to establish and maintain qualified ABLE programs to:

1. encourage and help individuals and families save private funds to support individuals with disabilities to maintain health, independence, and quality of life and

2. provide secure funding for disability-related expenses on behalf of designated beneficiaries with disabilities that will supplement, but not replace, benefits provided through private insurance, Medicaid, SSI, employment, and other sources (P. L. 113-295).

Generally, under federal law, qualified ABLE programs are exempt from federal taxation, and funds in ABLE accounts may not be considered when determining eligibility for benefits or assistance programs authorized by federal law unless the funds exceed $100,000.