Bill Summary for S 367 (2015-2016)

Summary date: 

Mar 23 2015

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2015-2016 Session
Senate Bill 367 (Public) Filed Monday, March 23, 2015
AN ACT TO ENACT THE ACHIEVING A BETTER LIFE EXPERIENCE (ABLE) ACT.
Intro. by Barringer, Hise, Apodaca.

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Bill summary

Enacts new GS 116-209.25A establishing the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Trust Fund to be administered by the State Education Assistance Authority (Authority) in order to enable contributors to save money to meet the cots of the qualified disability expenses of eligible individuals. Defines an eligible individual as an individual who, for a taxable year, either: (1) is entitled to benefits based on blindness or disability under Title II or XVI of the Social Security Act, and the blindness or disability is a preexisting condition that occurred before the date on which the individual turned 26 years old or (2) has a disability certification filed with the US Secretary of the Treasury for the taxable year. Defines disability certification as documentation that satisfies each of the following conditions: (1) a certification to the satisfaction of the US Secretary of the Treasury by the individual or the individual's parent or guardian that the individual has a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that results in marked and severe functional limitations and can be expected to result in death or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months and (2) the individual is blind or disabled, and the blindness or disability occurred before the individual attained 26 years of age. Defines other terms as they are used in the statute. Specifies ways an ABLE account may be established and how contributions may be made, sets limitations on contribution amounts, and sets out provisions concerning changing designated beneficiaries.

Authorizes the Authority to accept, hold, invest, and disburse contributions and interest earned on such contributions. Requires the Authority to hold all contributions to the ABLE Trust Fund, and any earnings, in a separate trust fund to be invested in accordance with the statute. Requires the Authority to determine an appropriate investment strategy for the ABLE Trust Fund. Allows the Authority to deposit all or any portion of the ABLE Trust Fund for investment either with the State Treasurer or in the individual, common, or collective trust funds of an investment manager or managers that meet the specified requirements. Allows contributions to the ABLE Trust Fund to be invested in the individual, common, or collective trust funds of an investment manager if the investment manager: (1) has assets under management of at least $100 million dollars at all times and (2) is subject to the jurisdiction and regulation of the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Requires the Authority to develop and perform all functions necessary to (1) administer the ABLE Trust Fund in a way that complies with the requirements of the Achieving a Better Life Experience Program as provided under the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 and federal regulations under the act and (2) provide other services necessary to facilitate participation in the ABLE Trust Fund. Also allows the Authority to obtain the services of investment advisors or program managers.

Requires the Authority to ensure nine provisions in administering the Trust Fund, including that a person may make contributions for a taxable year for the benefit of an individual who is an eligible individual for the taxable year to an ABLE account established to meet the qualified disability expenses of the designated beneficiary of the account; that a designated beneficiary is limited to one ABLE account; and that a trustee or guardian appointed as a signatory of an ABLE account does not have or acquire any beneficial interest in the account and administers the account for the benefit of the designated beneficiary.

Allows the Authority to set an application, account, and administration fee.

Requires assets of and distributions for qualified disability expenses from an ABLE account to not be considered when determining whether a designated beneficiary's financial circumstances meet the eligibility requirements of other state assistance programs.

Effective when the act becomes law. Requires the Authority to begin accepting contributions when the State Treasurer notifies the Authority that federal regulations regarding the Achieving a Better Life Experience Program have been issued and provide the guidance necessary to implement the Trust Fund.

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