On December 19th, Montanans will join the 5th anniversary celebrations of the U.S. ABLE Act. The Stephen Beck, Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act recognizes the late Mr. Beck, who paved the way for a better life for his daughter, Natalie, and for individuals like Natalie, by empowering millions of eligible Americans to save money for their future. The ABLE Act established a tax-advantaged program for qualified individuals and their families to save money for disability-related expenses.
After the passage of the ABLE Act, Montana established its ABLE program during the next state legislative session. Senators Fred Thomas, Mary Caferro, and Cynthia Wolken co-sponsored SB 399; it passed the Montana Senate 49-1, the House 100-0, and was signed by Governor Bullock on May 5, 2015. Today, nearly 300 people living with disabilities have Montana ABLE accounts.
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The Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities is pleased to share a fact sheet on alternative approaches to guardianship.
The Rural Institute has worked on issues surrounding guardianship for many years. In the late 2000s, Rural Institute staff members Marsha Katz and Ellen Condon, and Theresa Baldry, who was working for PLUK (Parents, Let’s Unite for Kids) at the time, collaborated with various community partners and created tools and resources focused on alternatives to guardianship.
Ms. Baldry, who now works at the Rural Institute as a Project Coordinator for Transition and Employment Projects and the Montana Deaf-Blind project, stated:
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