For Immediate Release:
July 27, 2021
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
Missouri’s Vaccine Incentive Program promotes MO ABLE as an option for Missourians with disabilities
MO ABLE program helps people with disabilities save for the future without losing federal benefits
JEFFERSON CITY, MO – The Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) recently rolled out the new MO VIP Program, the state’s vaccine incentive program that rewards those Missourians who have chosen or will choose to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Starting this month, DHSS will partner with the Missouri Lottery to draw 180 winners in each of five randomized drawings who will win either $10,000 cash or $10,000 towards an education savings account. In total, the state will award 900 individuals throughout the incentive program.
“MO ABLE provides a great platform for individuals with disabilities to participate in our state’s new incentive program. Vaccination is the most effective and long-lasting tool for protection from this infection. DHSS continues to encourage anyone age 12 and up, with or without a disability, to get vaccinated against COVID-19,” said DHSS Acting Director Robert Knodell.
Missourians with disabilities who access federal-needs based benefits are subject to limitations on how much they can earn and save. The successful MO ABLE Program allows individuals with disabilities and their families to save up to $15,000 per year, tax-free, without losing federal benefits like Medicaid and SSI. Eligible expenses include housing, transportation, education, and medical expenses.
“MO ABLE is a useful tool for Missourians with disabilities to save for the future—especially if they are a MO VIP winner,” Missouri State Treasurer and MO ABLE Administrator Scott Fitzpatrick said. “I am happy to work with DHSS to highlight this important program as a way to ensure those with disabilities are able to participate in the incentive program without the risk of losing necessary benefits if and when they choose to be vaccinated.”
“We are excited to promote the MO ABLE Program, through the leadership of the State Treasurer’s office, as a great tool to offer incentives for people with disabilities to access the COVID-19 vaccine. As a long-standing champion for the National ABLE Program and the Co-Chair of the Missouri Advisory Committee on Equitable COVID Vaccine Distribution, we have been working to ensure people with disabilities, who are some of the most vulnerable individuals and at highest risk of illness and even death of COVID-19, are prioritized in our state’s plan and receive the same incentives as all Missourians,” said Sara Hart Weir, Special Advisor for Disability Services and Co-Chair of the Missouri Advisory Committee on Equitable COVID Vaccine Distribution.
MO ABLE, an extension of the 529 Program, was established in 2017 in Missouri to offer investment accounts to eligible individuals with disabilities by the Missouri State Treasurer’s Office. ABLE Accounts are made possible by the federal Stephen Beck Jr., Achieving a Better Life Experience (“ABLE”) Act, and allow individuals with disabilities to save and invest money without losing eligibility for certain public benefits programs, like Medicaid or SSI.
To learn more about the MO VIP Program, please visit: www.MOStopsCovid.com/win
To learn more about the MO ABLE Program, please visit: www.moable.com
About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in protecting health and keeping people safe. More information about DHSS can be found at http://health.mo.gov or find us on Facebook and Twitter @HealthyLivingMo