Maine Launches New Checking Account To Help Expand Banking Options For Mainers With Disabilities
The State of Maine has launched a new program, considered the first of its kind in the country, to expand and simplify banking options for Mainers living with a disability.
It’s called Verification of Maine ABLE benefits.
The program was born out of the federal Achieving a Better Life Experience – or ABLE Act of 2014. Prior to this law, people who received disability benefits, such as Medicaid or Social Security, were effectively prevented from saving. money for the expenses of life.
“If you save even a few thousand dollars, you could lose your Social Security, and I think everyone understood that was a negative political outcome,” Maine State Treasurer said. , Henry Beck.
Beck said that meant people with disabilities, or their guardians, weren’t able to save for a car or other living expenses, which meant people were barely getting by and needed to. even more help in dealing with various emergencies.
Unlike other ABLE programs under the same 2014 legislation, Beck says the Maine program is unique in that it allows people who receive disability benefits to save and manage their money in a simple current account, rather than through the special and complex investment programs created. by other states.
âBecause people with disabilities have told us they really want something simpler and more accessible,â says Beck. In addition, he says it was important for people to have access to a real physical institution, as well as a standard debit card.
âOur partnership with the State Treasurer’s Office is a unique public-private collaboration that allows us to expand access to banking services,â said Bob Montgomery-Rice, President and CEO of Bangor Savings Bank .
âThe creation and delivery of this program supports the financial independence and well-being of disabled residents of Maine and reflects our continued commitment to providing better banking experiences for all members of the community. “
Bangor Savings Bank was hired for five years to administer the service for the state. State Treasurer Beck says during this time the program will be evaluated to determine how well it is working.
ABLE accounts can be opened at any branch of Bangor Savings Bank by any qualified resident of Maine. The accounts have certain limitations on what is considered an eligible expense, and beneficiaries can accumulate up to $ 15,000 each year without risking penalties.