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February 28, 2024 Clouds | 56°F
The 193rd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 29: Achieving a better life experience program; ABLE account; qualified disability expenses; annual report

Section 29. (a) As used in this section the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:—

''Achieving a better life experience account'' or ''ABLE account'', a savings and qualified disabilities expense account established and maintained by the authority, or a designated administrator, pursuant to this section and its implementing regulations for the purposes of qualified disability expenses.

''Designated administrator'', any corporation whose powers and privileges are provided for in any general or special law, whether for profit or not, designated by the authority for the purpose of administering ABLE accounts.

''Disability verification'', (i) a ''disability certification'' as defined under 26 U.S.C. 529A and applicable federal regulations and federal regulatory guidance; or (ii) a verification, to the authority or its designated administrator, by the designated beneficiary or the parent or guardian of the designated beneficiary that: (A) shall include a copy of the designated beneficiary's diagnosis, signed by a physician or a licensed clinical psychologist, that shall specify that the person is an individual with a disability; and (ii) the designated beneficiary is either: (1) receiving benefits under the supplemental security income program under Title XVI of the Social Security Act or whose benefits under that program are suspended for a reason other than misconduct; (2) for purposes of Title XIX of the Social Security Act, deemed to be or treated as receiving benefits from the office of Medicaid under the supplemental security income program under Title XVI of the Social Security Act or whose benefits under such program have been suspended for a reason other than misconduct; or (3) receiving disability benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act.

''Individual with a disability'', an individual who, regardless of age, has a medically determinable physical or mental impairment, which results in marked and severe functional limitations, and which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months, or is blind.

''Physician'', a physician meeting the criteria of section 1861(r)(1) of the Social Security Act.

''Qualified disability expenses'', expenses made for the benefit of an individual with a disability or for the benefit of a special needs trust established for the benefit of such an individual.

(b) There shall be within the authority, the achieving a better life experience program for the purposes of administering ABLE accounts established to encourage and assist individuals and families in saving private funds for the purpose of supporting individuals with disabilities; provided, however, that notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the authority shall establish and administer the program in accordance with 26 U.S.C. 529A to ensure that the program constitutes a qualified ABLE program as defined in said 26 U.S.C. 529A. Under the program, a person may make contributions to an ABLE account to meet the qualified disability expenses of the designated beneficiary of the account.

(c) For the purposes of this section and subparagraph (17) of paragraph (a) of Part B of section 3 of chapter 62 the following expenses shall be qualified disability expenses if such expenses are made for the benefit of an individual with a disability who is a designated beneficiary and the expenses are related to such disability:

(1) expenses for education, including tuition for pre-school through post-secondary education, which shall include higher education expenses, as defined by 26 U.S.C. § 529(e)(3)(A), and expenses for books, supplies and educational materials related to preschool and secondary education, tutors and special education services;

(2) expenses for a primary residence, including rent, purchase of a primary residence or an interest in a primary residence, mortgage payments, real property taxes, and utility charges;

(3) expenses for transportation, including the use of mass transit, the purchase or modification of vehicles and moving expenses;

(4) expenses related to obtaining and maintaining employment, including job-related training, assistive technology and personal assistance supports;

(5) expenses for health and wellness, including premiums for health insurance, mental health, medical, vision and dental expenses, habilitation and rehabilitation services, durable medical equipment, therapy, respite care, long-term services and supports, nutritional management, communication services and devices, adaptive equipment, assistive technology and personal assistance;

(6) expenses for financial management and administrative services, legal fees, expenses for oversight and monitoring;

(7) expenses for home improvements and modifications, maintenance and repairs at a primary residence;

(8) expenses for a funeral or burial;

(9) expenses for assistive technology and personal support with respect to any item described in this section; or

(10) any other qualified disability expense approved by the Internal Revenue Service pursuant to 26 U.S.C. 529A.

(d) A person may make contributions to an ABLE account to meet the qualified disability expenses of the designated beneficiary of the account; provided that the account and contributions meet the other requirements of this section and regulations promulgated by the authority.

(e) An ABLE account shall be a qualified disabilities expense account if: (1) it provides that purchases or contributions may only be made in cash; (2) provides separate accounting for each designated beneficiary; (3) provides that any contributor to, or designated beneficiary under, such program may not directly or indirectly direct the investment of any contributions to the program or any earnings thereon; and (4) provides adequate safeguards to prevent contributions on behalf of a designated beneficiary in excess of those necessary to provide for the qualified disability expenses of the beneficiary.

(f) The authority, or its designated administrator, shall treat an individual as an individual with a disability if the person files a disability verification with the authority or such designated administrator or if the individual otherwise constitutes an eligible individual pursuant to 26 U.S.C. 529A.

(g) The authority shall file an annual report with the department of developmental services, the joint committee on children, families and persons with disabilities and the house and senate committees on ways and means on the usage of ABLE accounts. The report shall include, but not be limited to: (1) the number of people with an ABLE account; (2) the total amount of contributions to such accounts; (3) the total amount and nature of distributions from such accounts; and (4) issues relating to the abuse of such accounts.

(h) The authority may promulgate regulations and enter into agreements to implement this section; provided, however, that the authority shall not issue any regulation or enter into an agreement that would preclude the program established under subsection (b) from constituting a qualified ABLE program, as defined in 26 U.S.C. section 529A.