Treasurer Stacy Garrity Announces Benefits for PA 529 & PA ABLE Savings Programs

The tax benefits for contributing to PA 529 and PA ABLE accounts are getting better in 2023, Treasurer Stacy Garrity announced today. Higher Pennsylvania state personal income tax deductions are now in place for both programs.

PA 529 account owners may deduct up to $17,000 (previously $16,000) of contributions to their accounts, or $34,000 (previously $32,000) for couples filing jointly, provided both spouses have at least $17,000 of income. The PA state income tax deduction for 529 contributions is available to any PA taxpayer, making gift contributions an attractive benefit for family members or friends.

PA ABLE account owners will also be able to deduct up to $17,000 (previously $16,000) for contributions to their accounts.

“Both PA 529 and PA ABLE accounts have excellent tax advantages, and the higher deduction limits will help bolster savings for account owners,” Garrity said. “Treasury’s savings programs are valuable tools that help Pennsylvania families meet their financial goals. If anyone is thinking about starting to save with PA 529 or PA ABLE accounts, I encourage them to visit Treasury’s website to learn how these accounts can have a big impact on improving financial security and wellness.”

The PA 529 College and Career Savings Program is designed to help PA families steadily and strategically save for future educational expenses. Treasury offers two plans; the PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan (GSP), which allows you to save at today’s tuition rates to meet tomorrow’s tuition costs, and the PA 529 Investment Plan (IP), that offers a number of investment options. PA 529 plans have significant state and federal tax advantages and can be used for a wide variety of qualifying technical, collegiate, apprenticeship and K-12 educational expenses.

The PA ABLE Savings Program is a tax-free way for Pennsylvanians to save for a wide range of disability-related expenses while maintaining government disability benefits. PA ABLE provides various savings options including an interest-bearing checking account and investment portfolios. The contribution limit for PA ABLE accounts in 2023 is $17,000.

PA ABLE is the largest program in the 18-member National ABLE Alliance, accounting for nearly 25% of total assets, and one of the largest ABLE programs in the country. Treasurer Garrity was elected the inaugural chair of the new ABLE Savings Plan Network in November 2022.

To learn more about PA 529, visit or call 800-440-4000. To learn more about PA ABLE, visit or call 855-529-2253.

Media Contact:
Samantha Heckel, Press Secretary, 717-418-0206 or

How to Attract and Retain Good Workers

At a time when many business owners are having trouble filling job openings, more and more employers are realizing that offering better benefit packages might greatly assist their recruiting efforts. 

Studies have supported this approach over the years.  For example, a Ranstad US survey found that 66 percent of workers say that the biggest determining factor in choosing a job is the prospective employer’s benefit package.

Finding the Best Plans

But with so many employee benefit plans available, how can companies be confident that they have checked out all the options they can afford?

That’s where insurance brokerage firms come in.

“Insurance brokers help business owners get the biggest bang for their buck where benefits are concerned,” said Jerry Calistri, President and CEO of the insurance brokerage firm Swift Kennedy & Associates. 

“Agencies like ours shop around and compare the employee benefit plans offered by all the major insurance carriers in the region, and then we present employers with their best options,” he said.

Greener Pastures

While good benefit packages are vital in attracting the best workers, it is also critical for employees to recognize the value of their benefits after they have been hired, so that they are not tempted to join the many workers who have left jobs when they have found better benefits or perks elsewhere.

But employees need to understand their benefits in order to appreciate them.  So, how can employers help reduce employee confusion over benefit packages?

One very effective way for a business owner to help employees comprehend their benefits is to upgrade the company’s benefit administration by replacing its paper-based benefit system with a digital one.

Enhanced Benefit Experience

Not only do digital benefit platforms allow employees to have a clearer understanding of their choices, but they also help them to make better informed enrollment decisions by providing them with online support aids like plan comparison tools, cost calculators, provider directories, and videos, as well as online benefit summaries. 

In addition, these systems can speed up the benefit enrollment process, since digital platforms reduce the number of errors that are so common with manual applications.  As a result, employees often receive their insurance identification cards and other information more quickly, which most workers appreciate.

Furthermore, digital benefit administration enables employees to access their benefit information 24/7 year-round, a feature that is particularly valued by millennials and Gen Z employees.

Other Advantages

Digital benefit systems also offer employers tools that help with absence management, federal regulatory compliance, tax forms, bills, payroll integration, and other important aspects of human resources.  This allows a company’s HR staff to spend more time on employee training, professional development and engagement – all of which are popular with employees.

In addition, these systems allow employers to access claims data, which enables them to select the most appropriate benefit plans for their workers. “The combination of good benefit packages and digital systems that enhance employee benefit experiences not only helps business owners attract and keep the best workers, but it also enables them to concentrate less on recruitment and retention and more on what they do best – running their companies!” said Calistri.

Swift Kennedy Helps Companies with HR & Benefits Administration

The proliferation of vaccinations and recent easing of restrictions on some Pennsylvania businesses are giving hope to many local employers that they may soon be able to jumpstart their businesses and hire new employees or rehire old ones.

However, many business owners have learned a valuable lesson from this crisis – namely, that to operate successfully in a world of unpredictable lockdowns, they need to update their Human Resources and Benefits Administration systems.

That is one reason that so many companies are now turning to insurance brokerage firms like Swift Kennedy & Associates to help them streamline their systems and manage HR issues ranging from onboarding and employee education to terminations and COBRA administration.

Virtual HR/Benefits Administration

Swift Kennedy offers employers a virtual HR/Benefits platform that enables them to hold digital open enrollment meetings and to keep track of how far each employee has advanced in the enrollment process through an enrollment progress dashboard. 

This system also streamlines a company’s absence management and enhances both its benefit communications and employee education.  In addition, employers have access to Swift Kennedy’s benefit support team via webchat, video conference, phone, and email.

Employees appreciate the fact that this platform lets them use virtual plan comparison tools when selecting benefit packages and enrolling online.  They also like being able to view their benefits digitally 24/7 on both their computers and mobile devices.

Swift Kennedy’s other HR/Benefits services include day-to-day benefits administration (including claims assistance, billing support, enrollments, and terminations), COBRA administration, and access to a comprehensive digital library of HR and benefits information.

The agency also helps businesses find affordable medical, dental, vision, life, and disability insurance plans, as well as alternative funding options.  

“We pride ourselves on helping employers manage their HR and Benefit needs from start to finish,” said Jerry Calistri, Swift Kennedy’s President and CEO, who is a Certified Healthcare Reform Specialist.

Swift Kennedy, which specializes in group employee benefits and senior insurance plans, works with all health insurance carriers in Pennsylvania and has offices in State College, Williamsport, Scranton, DuBois, Johnstown, and Virginia Beach.