The City Sentinel, Staff Report
OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahomans who save and invest using OK STABLE, the state-sponsored ABLE Act program for people with disabilities, will now be able to deduct contributions from their state taxes, State Treasurer Randy McDaniel announced Thursday (May 14).
The tax deduction is identical to the one offered for contributions to the Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan and will be in effect starting with 2021 income tax filing. The new law allows couples to deduct up to $20,000 in contributions per year from their state taxable income. Single taxpayers can deduct contributions of up to $10,000 per year.
Federal law allows states to sponsor savings and investment programs for people with disabilities. Under OK STABLE, Oklahomans with disabilities can save and invest money without jeopardizing need-based benefit programs such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income. Funds in an account can be used for qualified expenses, including housing, transportation, education, employment training, assistive technology, and many other expenses.
“People with disabilities face many challenges in life,” Treasurer McDaniel said, in a press release sent to Oklahoma news organizations.
“We should do all we can to ease the burden and support efforts to save for a brighter future.”
The tax deduction for OK STABLE is not only available to individuals with disabilities, it can also be used by friends and family who contribute to an account. As with college savings and IRA deductions, contributions made by the tax filing deadline can be claimed on the previous year’s income tax returns.
House Bill 2178, creating the tax deduction, was requested by Treasurer McDaniel and authored by Rep. Kyle Hilbert of Bristow and Sen. John Michael Montgomery of Lawton. It garnered strong bi-partisan support in the final votes in both the House and Senate.
Governor Kevin Stitt signed the legislation into law on May 7.
Ellyn Novak Hefner, a special care advocate in Oklahoma City, has been an ardent supporter of the program throughout its existence. She has written on the program regularly for The City Sentinel, an independent, locally-owned, non-partisan newspaper based in Oklahoma City.
In a commentary for The City Sentinel newspaper this week, she applauded “all Oklahoma law makers for helping to create equality between people with and without disabilities.”
Oklahomans with disabilities can look online to see if they are eligible to open an account by going to OKSTABLE.org. The program was launched in May 2018 and currently contains more than 750 active accounts with $3.7 million.