Illinois State Treasurer Michael W. Frerichs visited the Union County Courthouse in Jonesboro on Monday, Aug. 28. Photo provided.

State treasurer highlights programs during visit to county

Illinois State Treasurer Michael W. Frerichs paid a visit to Union County last week.

Frerichs met with local officials at the Union County Courthouse in Jonesboro, where he discussed programs which were available through the treasurer’s office. He also made a stop in Anna.

During his visit, the treasurer highlighted key programs which are available through his office.

The ICash program in the treasurer’s office helps to reunite unclaimed property with their owners. 

The treasurer serves as the trustee of Illinois’s three 529 college savings plans: Bright Start Direct, a plan that individuals can sign up for and manage on their own, and Bright Start Advisor and Bright Directions, plans that can be purchased through a financial advisor.  

The website for the treasurer’s office explains that all three plans are “qualified tuition programs” under Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code. 

Contributions to Bright Start and Bright Directions grow on a tax-deferred basis while in the plan and can be withdrawn tax-free for qualified higher education expenses.  

Qualified higher education expenses include tuition, fees, books, supplies, room and board (if a student is enrolled at least half time), and computers.

The treasurer’s office also offers the ABLE (Achieving Better Life Experience) program. 

The Illinois ABLE program is a tax-advantaged investment program that provides persons with blindness or disabilities the option to save for disability-related expenses without putting their federal means tested benefits at risk, the treasurer’s office’s website explains.

Illinois ABLE is a member of the National ABLE Alliance, a partnership of 14 states representing over one quarter of the population of the United States. 

The goal of the National ABLE Alliance is to provide the most robust ABLE services possible at the lowest cost to account owners.

ABLE allows for a wide range of expenses, as long as they are related to a person’s blindness or disability, including expenses for education, housing, transportation, employment training and support, assistive technology and personal support services, health, prevention and wellness, financial management and administrative services, legal fees, and expenses for oversight and monitoring, funeral and burial expenses.

Information about all of the programs can be found online at

The treasurer shared that he finds the current environment in the state capital of Springfield to be “frustrating.” Frerichs said he and his staff “try to focus on what can help the people of Illinois.”

Frerichs also noted that the visit to Union County gave him an opportunity to achieve another step in his goal of having a picture taken in front of each courthouse in Illinois’ 102 counties. 

Following his visit to Union County, he’s tallied about 40 of the photographs. Union County’s courthouse is located in Jonesboro.

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158

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