Expanding Employment and Opportunity through STABLE Accounts
By Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague
Every October, we recognize National Disability Employment Awareness Month and celebrate the contributions and accomplishments of workers living with disabilities. Now is also an appropriate time to acknowledge the many milestones that have contributed to creating a more inclusive workforce that’s created new career opportunities for people living with disabilities.
Ohio is proud to be home to a diverse and inclusive workforce, and people living with disabilities play an important role in maintaining a strong economy.
In the Treasurer’s office, we have a valuable tool to help eliminate financial barriers and increase access to employment. Through STABLE Account – Ohio's ABLE program – the Treasurer’s office plays a key role in the effort to enhance financial independence and stability for people living with disabilities and their families.
Before STABLE accounts, people living with disabilities could only save $2,000 before losing means-tested benefits such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). These regulations discouraged saving, investing, and joining the workforce - and asset limits often kept individuals living in the financial margins.
STABLE accountholders can save up to $16,000 each year without jeopardizing federal assistance. If the accountholder is employed, they can save an additional $12,880 each year. Earnings on STABLE accounts grow tax-free, as long as funds are spent on qualified expenses, such as education, transportation, healthcare, assistive technology, personal support services, and many others.
By removing barriers to employment, STABLE accounts help people living with disabilities to build a strong foundation for independence. We’ve heard many stories of accountholders buying cars, paying rent, and even putting down payments on their first homes. This financial stability is powerful and can provide the peace of mind that comes with having a plan for the future.
Employers can also play a vital role in increasing access to STABLE accounts. Our office has introduced a payroll deduction option that employers can make available to employees, allowing them to put a portion of their paychecks directly into a STABLE account. Additionally, employees who have a loved one living with a disability may also open and contribute to an account on the family member’s behalf.
Thus far, we’ve developed partnerships with the State of Ohio, Edison Community College, and several cities, counties, and private employers to make a payroll deduction option available to employees. This functionality can be replicated in businesses of all sizes, and our team stands ready to help more employers make this option available.
Today, STABLE Account serves more than 30,000 accountholders – triple the number of accountholders we served just over three years ago. By encouraging employment and creating a more inclusive economy, STABLE Account is strengthening the Buckeye State and helping Ohioans reach their full potential.
We ask for your partnership in making the payroll deduction option available to employees. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to our office at (614) 466-2160. For more information about STABLE accounts and to sign up, visit www.stableaccount.com.