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Local officials celebrate PA Able Act's success; discuss improvements

one year after a law helping those with disabilities and their families went into effect, state officials are celebrating its success.

One year after a law helping those with disabilities and their families went into effect, state officials are celebrating its success.

However, they say it still has a long way to go.

On Friday, U.S. Senator Bob Casey joined State Treasurer Joe Torsella to celebrate the PA ABLE Savings Program.

"Americans who have a disability can have the full measure of freedom when it comes to the freedom to work and to save,” Sen. Casey said.

Until last year, those with disabilities who receive government benefits couldn't save more than $2,000 dollars a year without losing those benefits.

However, with bi-partisan support, legislators re-wrote the tax code.

Earlier in the day, Treasurer Torsella visited with students at the Transitional Skills Center in Scranton.

The program is a one of a kind in the state and allows high-school students to learn skills needed to succeed in employment after high school.

"You could feel the atmosphere of the sort of supportiveness. But also the empowering nature of what they're doing; equipping these young people to live independently and to work, and with life skills and with such obvious pride,” Treasurer Torsella said.

Many in the program are now finally able to save under PA-ABLE.

They can learn how to cook, fold laundry, and even grow plants.

It’s skills they can take with them when they get a job and begin to save.

Tyshawn Wynter is a highschooler who recently started coming here.

"I've made a lot of friends here. They're nice and kind and stuff like that,” Wynter said.

Torsella says PA's version of the Able Act is the fastest growing program of its kind in the country with about a thousand families saving 6 and a half million dollars in the past year.

But they still have a long way to go.

"That is a fraction of people we think could benefit from this. We think there is as many as 800,000 potentially eligible Pennsylvanians. So, we want to keep working and intend to keep working through events like this to spread the word,” Torsella said.

If you think you or someone in your family is eligible for PA Able, you can find out more by visiting their website: https://www.paable.gov/

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