Honolulu, Hawaii



RE:    H.B. No. 119

       H.D. 2




Honorable Donna Mercado Kim

President of the Senate

Twenty-Eighth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2015

State of Hawaii




     Your Committee on Human Services and Housing, to which was referred H.B. No. 119, H.D. 2, entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


     The purpose and intent of this measure is to empower and assist individuals and families to save private funds to support individuals with disabilities by:


     (1)  Requiring the Director of Finance to establish the Hawaii ABLE Savings Program (Program) to provide for individual savings accounts to support individuals with disabilities; and


     (2)  Creating the Hawaii ABLE savings program trust fund to support the Program.


     Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Budget and Finance, State Council on Developmental Disabilities, Disability and Communication Access Board, Autism Speaks, Autism Society of Hawaii, Children's Community Council of Hawaii, Hawaii Association for Behavior Analysis, National Down Syndrome Society, Easter Seals Hawaii, and one individual.  Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Hawaii Disability Rights Center.


     Your Committee finds that on December 19, 2014, the federal Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act was signed into law, Public Law No. 113-295.  The ABLE Act is modeled after 529 college savings plans, in which interest earned on savings is tax-free.  Such savings accounts allow individuals with disabilities to have a flexible savings account to accrue funds to pay for expenses such as medical and dental care, education, community-based supports, employment training, assistive technology, housing, and transportation.  The ABLE Act recognizes the significant costs of living with a disability by allowing individuals with disabilities to establish private savings accounts while retaining their eligibility for needed public benefits.


Your Committee further finds that individuals with disabilities in Hawaii would greatly benefit from a state program that resembles the federal ABLE Act.  Your Committee recognizes the importance of creating a way for individuals with disabilities and their families to save for future disability expenses without losing eligibility for means-tested federal programs like Supplemental Social Security Income and Medicaid.  Furthermore, it is the intent of your Committee that, under the Program, individuals with disabilities can themselves contribute to the savings account along with the individuals' family members.


     As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Human Services and Housing that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 119, H.D. 2, and recommends that it pass Second Reading and be referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Human Services and Housing,