By Phil Drake, Great Falls Tribune, 9-26-17

Montana announced a program Tuesday that officials said will help people with disabilities start savings accounts that give them more control on their money and disability expenses, while remaining eligible for medical benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income.

The 2015 Legislature passed Senate Bill 399 to help eligible people with disabilities to establish Achieving a Better Life Experience accounts.

“This opens up a whole new world for people,” said Sheila Hogan, director of the Department of Public Health and Human Services.

She said that in the past, people with disabilities were essentially penalized for saving money and being financially responsible.

Clancy parent Jon Bennion said his son, Jack, qualifies for an Achieving a Better Life Experience account, and for their family it’s been a lifesaver.

“This opens up a new frontier and tool for parents of kids with disabilities,” Bennion, chief deputy attorney general at the Montana Department of Justice,  said while holding up a piggy bank at the news conference.