Sen. Laura Fine

SPRINGFIELD – To make it easier for families of individuals with disabilities to provide for their children’s futures, State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) has sponsored legislation that would empower ABLE account holders to protect their assets and designate a beneficiary.

The ABLE Program allows people with disabilities to save for certain expenses without losing their eligibility for programs like SSI and Medicaid. Assets from the account can be used for expenses like education, housing, transportation and health care. Fine wants to make it easier for account holders to name an account beneficiary without legal aid.

“Families who are caring for someone with a disability shouldn’t have to pay a private attorney to protect their hard-earned savings,” said Fine. “We need to make sure that protections are in place for individuals with disabilities who come from low- or middle-income backgrounds.”

Upon the death of the primary beneficiary of an ABLE account, Medicaid can file a recovery claim and any premiums paid as part of the Medicaid Buy-In Program can be deducted from unprotected assets. Fine’s plan would enable ABLE account holders to make the remaining assets payable on death, thereby protecting them from Medicaid asset recovery.

Since the creation of the Illinois ABLE Program three years ago, nearly 1,300 Illinoisans have opened ABLE accounts, with combined assets of more than $8.5 million.

“This legislation would make much-needed improvements to the Illinois ABLE Program,” said Fine. “It would give all individuals with disabilities and their families the support and protection they need to save for expenses and secure their futures.”

Senate Bill 3071 passed the Senate Wednesday and now heads to the House.