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Sirote’s Katherine Barr Joins Governor Bentley at Ceremonial Signing of ABLE Act for Persons with Disabilities

July 30, 2015

Bill allows savings without penalty for Alabama persons with disabilities

On Tuesday, June 30, Katherine Barr joined Governor Bentley and other key advocates at a ceremonial signing for Alabama's implementation of the Achieving A Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act.  President Obama signed federal legislation in December 2014 authorizing states to establish savings accounts for persons with disabilities that will not count as a resource when seeking eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid.

Anyone will be able to open an ABLE Act account for a qualifying individual as soon as financial organizations have implemented the regulations being developed in conjunction with the Federal legislation.  Financial organizations in Alabama should be ready by year-end to offer ABLE Act accounts.  These accounts can receive up to $14,000 per year, and are exempt for SSI purposes if they do not exceed $100,000.  ABLE Act accounts must be used for disability-related expenses.

“This is the most significant legislation to come along in years for persons with disabilities,” says Katherine Barr, an attorney at Sirote & Permutt who concentrates a significant portion of her practice on working with families of those with disabilities. “The ABLE Act should provide practical and inexpensive options for persons with disabilities seeking more autonomy over resources while retaining eligibility for important government benefits.”

Barr represented two important groups at the signing, lawyers in Alabama who work with families that have a member on government benefits like SSI and Medicaid, as well as The Special Needs Alliance, a nationwide non-profit educational organization for attorneys with advanced knowledge and experience in laws affecting persons with disabilities, for which she serves as vice president. Barr has been advocating for this legislation for eight years.

Read Barr’s extended review of the ABLE Act and who may benefit as well as an article she published in Birmingham Parent about the ABLE Act.

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