wave usa flag 1383225090826SPRINGFIELD- Illinois families worried about the financial security of loved ones living with disabilities could soon have another resource to promote their independence.  

State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) passed Senate Bill 1383, which creates a tax exempt plan to assist individuals and families in saving money to cover the expenses for people with disabilities.

“We all want our loved ones to be able to live their lives with respect and dignity. This legislation empowers Illinois residents to provide a stable future to family members with disabilities,” said Bennett. “The flexibility of the plan makes it easier for families to save money and make important life decisions for their future. “

SB 1383 creates the Illinois Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE Act), which creates accounts similar to tax-advantaged college saving plans where income earned in the account is not taxable.

This legislation comes after the federal government passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014 with bipartisan support. Last week, Virginia was the first state to enact the program since the federal legislation was passed.

The Treasurer’s office would be responsible for creating ABLE accounts in accordance with federal rules and regulations. The accounts can be used to pay for qualifying expenses such as education, health, housing and transportation costs.

"I chose a life of public service to help Illinois families. Today, I am proud of the members of the Senate for passing legislation that helps ease financial strain on these families,” Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs said. “With the ABLE Account program, we can help individuals with disabilities get the tools necessary to attain financial stability and independence."

SB 1383 passed the Senate with bipartisan support and now moves to the House for consideration

pay it forwardSPRINGFIELD- Student loans are now the largest source for consumer debt in the United States.

More than 20 states including Illinois currently have laws in place that suspend professional licenses and certificates in the event a consumer must default on their student loans.

State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) introduced an initiative to prevent licensing boards from denying, revoking or suspending individual professional licenses due to student loan default in Illinois.

“It is counterproductive and unnecessary to take away professional licenses in cases of student loan default. This simply creates additional obstacles as people attempt to repay their loans and get back on their feet,” said Bennett.

Senate Bill 454 will put provisions in place to prevent individuals with student loan default from experiencing licenses being denied, revoked, or suspended in 38 professions such as occupational therapists, teachers, structural engineers, home inspectors and real estate agents.

“Defaulting on your student loans, doesn’t make you a criminal. We should remove regulations that create a systematic cycle that hinders people’s ability to work and develop professionally,” said Bennett.

Student loans continue to incur interest and charge fees as long as they remain unpaid. Creating additional obstacles make the process even harder. When consumers have to default on student loans it negatively impacts their credit scores.


Illinois General Assembly


“The Mahomet Aquifer is a priority for communities and people across Central Illinois. We are hopeful that there will be a permanent solution to protect this valuable resource from contamination to ensure clean drinking water for generations to come. We are aware of efforts to effect a settlement on these issues that will protect our water supply. Further, we have talked to local officials and stakeholders who are optimistic about these recent developments. However, we are still waiting to see final language of any settlement agreement.”

bennett shred may2015Consumer fraud and identity theft are becoming an epidemic in our communities. To raise awareness and to promote prevention, the Urbana Free Library and our office are offering paper shredding services for Champaign-Urbana residents.

To help reduce the chances of identity theft, experts recommend shredding things like bank statements, credit card offers and credit card convenience checks. Residents should also shred canceled credit cards, canceled checks, pay stubs, old photo IDs and tax returns that are more than three years old.

Saturday, May 2
Time: 9 a.m. to noon
Location: Parking lot on Cedar St., west of the Urbana Free Library (210 W. Green St., Urbana).


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