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Sunday, April 17, 2016

RI will line up with other states to help the blind and disabled

ABLE investment accounts similar to CollegeBoundfund savings plan

PROVIDENCE, RI -- Rhode Island families planning for the future well-being of a loved one with a disability may be able to access the investment power of a multi-state consortium to invest their money for disability-related expenses, General Treasurer Seth Magaziner announced.

The consortium will manage a tax-advantaged investment portfolio similar to those currently used to save for college, such as Rhode Island's CollegeBoundfund. Without the consortium, individual states might lack the market share to ensure low-cost and high-quality investment options.

"As Treasurer, I am focused on protecting the financial well-being of all Rhode Islanders," Magaziner said. "Rhode Island's ABLE program will help families their put children with disabilities on a path toward financial stability in adulthood. We are exploring whether Rhode Island can accomplish this at a lower cost by partnering with other states."

The Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE) of 2015 was sponsored by Sen. Adam Satchell (D-West Warwick) and Representative Robert Nardolillo (R-Coventry) in coordination with Treasurer Magaziner. The law authorized the creation of tax-advantaged investment accounts for the families of disabled children.

Rhode Island will join with Alaska, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to solicit a competitively priced and structured program. The 10 states represent more than 53 million residents in four time zones.

At the same time, Rhode Island will continue to explore other partnerships to obtain the most advantageous terms for Rhode Islanders.

Consortium membership is still open and other states are currently considering joining. Nationally, 40 states have passed ABLE legislation, though none have launched their programs as of yet.

The consortium is unique in that each state will have its own ABLE program over which it will exercise authority, but will offer common program elements such as investment options. The next step is to seek public bids for investment services, record keeping and marketing services.