June 9, 2021

The Arc Wisconsin and dozens of other organizations across the state applaud the action by the full senate today to unanimously pass Senate Bill 158 – requiring the Department of Financial Institutions to study and report on establishing a section 529A ABLE savings account program.

ABLE is a transformative program that provides individuals with disabilities and their families the opportunity to achieve greater financial independence and self-reliance. Like EdVest college savings accounts, an ABLE account allows a parent to save for my child’s future. It also allows a person with a disability to work and save more money to spend on their disability-related needs without relying solely on public funds.

43 States and D.C. have launched ABLE programs and there are 82,415 ABLE accounts open nationwide. Wisconsin is not one of those states. Although Wisconsin residents can open an ABLE account in another state, we have far fewer accounts open. Many Wisconsinites with disabilities do not have ABLE accounts, either because they do not know about them or because they are skeptical about opening accounts in other states. The state provides limited information, training and support.

SB 158 is a good step forward for Wisconsin that will give us the right information on what to do next to increase access to ABLE accounts so more people and families can benefit.

This legislation is supported by a variety of disability organizations, financial institutions and employers including but not limited to The Arc Wisconsin, the Survival Coalition of Wisconsin Disability Organizations, The Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities, the A-Team, the Wisconsin Bankers Association, the Wisconsin Coalition of Independent Living Centers, the Wisconsin Credit Union League and CUNA Mutual Group.

Special thank you to lead authors Senators Jacque and Representative Mursau.