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About the California Achieving a Better Life Experience (CalABLE) Program

For many people with disabilities, the fear of losing critical public benefits, coupled with the high cost of support expenses, has limited them from building financial security.

Until recently, individuals receiving federal benefits have been restricted in the amount of money they can save, essentially keeping them in poverty and preventing them from saving or planning for the future. When the Stephen Beck Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act was signed into federal law by President Obama in 2014, these obstacles were removed as the law provides that eligible individuals with disabilities could now save above the $2,000 resource limit without impacting their eligibility for means-tested public benefits, such as such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid/Medi-Cal. The ABLE Act has been heralded as one of the most important pieces of disability legislation since the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The CalABLE Savings Plan opened to the public on December 18, 2018. The program enables Californians and out-of-state residents the ability to save for disability-related expenses by putting money in tax-advantaged investments, while protecting their eligibility for means-tested public benefits programs. After-tax contributions allow earnings to grow tax-deferred, and withdrawals, when used for a broad range of Qualified Disability Expenses, are federal and state tax-free. The Plan is managed by Vestwell. The California ABLE Act Board sets investment policies and oversees all activities of CalABLE.

CalABLE Board Staff

Meet the Executive Director

Thomas Martin

Executive Director

Thomas most recently served as the Chief of Future Operations and Planning for the Veterans Homes Division at the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet), where he was responsible for research and strategic planning for the state’s eight Veterans Homes, which provide long-term care for up to 2,300 former service members. Before becoming chief, Thomas also served in other roles at CalVet, including Assistant Deputy Secretary and Chief of Veterans Homes Operations. Prior to joining CalVet, Thomas held several appointments in the Office of the Governor.

Thomas has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and is the proud father of two children diagnosed with ASD and other developmental disabilities. He holds a master’s degree in government with honors from California State University, Sacramento and a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from the University of California, San Diego.

CalABLE Profiles

Meet some of the individuals who are taking advantage of CalABLE.

Meet Tyler Schutz

Tyler is 25 and was born with a rare condition called Kabuki Syndrome that has resulted in partial blindness and severe hearing loss, as well as heart, kidney and muscular skeletal abnormalities. Tyler has had multiple surgeries, with a recent procedure costing over $22,000.

Thanks in part to his CalABLE savings, Tyler completed a degree in video film production at City College and is currently working with a video film production company with the help of the San Diego Regional Center.

"Having a CalABLE account will help Tyler finally save money for all his medical and living expenses while also teaching him how to plan long-term for his career and future, just as you and I are able to do," says Angelina Neglia, Tyler's mom. "The CalABLE program opens the door to life's possibilities for Tyler."

Angelina Neglia
Mother of Tyler Schutz
San Diego, CA

Tyler Schutz
Amelia Reyes

Meet Amelia Reyes

"I want Amelia to have money in her name, like her brothers already can. A CalABLE account helps prepare her for living life on her terms, and even her great-grandma can help her save."

Kelly Kulzer-Reyes
Mother to Amelia
Pine Mountain Club, CA

Meet Gabby Prieto

Gabby is 17 years old and was born with Down syndrome. Gabby is a junior at her local high school and plans on going to college and pursuing a job in the field of first responder work. Gabby wants to live a life where she helps others. She plans on living on her own and having a family.

Having a CalABLE account will help Gabby finally save money for all her living expenses while she pursues a job in her chosen field. These are things that you and I take for granted and yet so much thought, planning and research needs to go into it for Gabby. The CalABLE program makes things like saving for a home possible.

Heather Scott
Gabby's Mother
Roseville, CA

Gabby Prieto

CalABLE Ambassadors

Ambassadors are CalABLE account holders who represent the diversity of California by the type of disability, age, gender, ethnicity and geographic region.

Meet your CalABLE ambassadors