FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 24, 2016
Media Contact: Shelli King
Tennessee Among the First States to Offer ABLE Accounts for Individuals with Disabilities
(June 13, 2016)
NASHVILLE- This morning, State Treasurer David H. Lillard, Jr. announced the opening of ABLE TN, Tennessee’s own Achieving A Better Life Experience program, a new program to help those with disabilities plan and save for the future. A program of the Tennessee Treasury Department, ABLE TN will allow account holders the opportunity to save and invest with tax-free earnings to help individuals with disabilities maintain independence and quality of life.
Tennessee is one of the first states in the nation to offer these savings accounts. ABLE TN accounts are easy to set up and manage at AbleTN.gov. Earnings on investments in an ABLE TN account will be tax-free as long as the funds are used to cover the cost of qualified disability expenses.
“I commend the Tennessee General Assembly for passing legislation that positively impacts our most vulnerable citizens,” Treasurer Lillard said. “As with all of the programs in the Treasury Department, we will remain dedicated to those who participate and those who wish to join us in educating communities on how these programs can make a difference in the lives of Tennesseans.”
Treasurer Lillard was joined by Representative Debra Moody (R.) of Covington, Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder of the Department of Veterans Services, and some of the families who are excited to open ABLE TN accounts in Tennessee. The Tennessee ABLE Act was passed by the 109th General Assembly. The legislation was sponsored by Senator Becky Duncan Massey (R) of Knoxville in the Senate and by Representatives Steve McManus (R) of Cordova and Kevin Brooks (R) of Cleveland in the House. The Act was cosponsored by Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R) of Collierville, Senator Ken Yager (R) of Kingston, and Senator Steve Dickerson (R) of Nashville in the Senate and Representative G.A. Hardaway (D) of Memphis.
“As Executive Director of the Sertoma Center, I work with over 100 adults who live with intellectual disabilities. I know the families that will greatly benefit from the savings possible in an ABLE TN account,” Senator Massey said. “I am so proud that Tennessee is one of the first states in the nation to offer these accounts.”
“My wife and I are parents, and we know what it’s like to worry about your children and their financial future. We wanted this resource to be available to help the thousands of Tennessee parents who need more help to save for the costs of care for their children,” said Representative Brooks.
“Treasury manages our state pension, a top-funded public pension plan in the nation, and TNStars, which receives national accolades for its investment performance,” Representative McManus said. “I have confidence that Treasurer Lillard and our Treasury Department will offer and sustain a strong ABLE program.”
About ABLE TN
ABLE TN is a savings program designed to help individuals with physical and/or mental disabilities put aside money with tax free earnings to pay for qualified expenses. There will be no impact on federal means-tested benefits for accounts with a balance of less than $100,000. ABLE TN will offer participants the ability to select from 14 diverse investment options, the same top performing investment options available through TNStars® College Savings 529 Program, which has been consistently ranked top 5 in the county by SavingForCollege.com.
There is no state residency requirement. All qualified U.S. residents with a disability that occurred before their 26th birthday can open an ABLE TN account, if they are eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), or have obtained a disability diagnosis by a qualified physician. ABLE TN has created a tool, ABLE Assist, to help determine eligibility, available on AbleTN.gov. The individual with the disability is the owner of the account, but accounts may be created by the beneficiary, parents/guardians or a third party. Beneficiaries are limited to one ABLE account at a time. For more information or to open accounts, visit AbleTN.gov.
About the Tennessee Treasury Department
Treasury is responsible for many financial matters for the state, including management of over $56 billion in assets through its various investment programs. The Department is responsible for receiving, investing and disbursing public funds, and managing all state investments including the pension fund.
The Treasury Department also has a number of customer focused programs that educate and support the financial lives of Tennesseans, such as the nationally-recognized TNStars® College Savings 529 Program, the Tennessee Financial Literacy Commission, RetireReadyTN, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund, and the Unclaimed Property Division.