Illinois Community

The Able Act is Law

Aimee Sharp
Author | Shield HealthCare
04/09/15  11:00 PM PST
Disability savings account

Published by Autism Speaks

WASHINGTON, DC — President Obama signed into law the ABLE Act today, following a bipartisan vote in the Senate earlier this week.  The signing culminated an eight-year campaign to gain approval for tax-free savings accounts to help individuals and families finance their longterm  disability needs.

Sponsored by Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) [left] and Richard Burr (R-NC), the bill attracted unusual bipartisan support, including co-sponsorships by both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. ABLE, or the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act, was voted out of the House last week 404-17.

“Autism Speaks is grateful for the tireless effort of Senators Casey and Burr who joined our champions in the House to build extraordinary bipartisan support for the bill,” said Autism Speaks President Liz Feld. “We also thank Senators Reid and McConnell for their early support and leadership to make this a priority in the closing days of this Congress.  It also could not have been done without the Senate Finance Committee leadership provided by Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), whose long-standing support for the bill was vital.

“Passage of this bill through the House and Senate shows that Congress can work to accomplish big things and that there is no greater force than an idea whose time has come.  Finally, this could not have been done without the power of individuals coming together to advocate for good policy that makes sense.”

ABLE amends the federal tax code to allow tax-free savings accounts to help finance disability-related needs. They are similar to Section 529 college savings accounts and eliminate, for ABLE accounts, the current $2,000 cap on savings for individuals with disabilities.

Under previous law, people with disabilities who saved more than $2,000 fail to qualify or risk the loss of their Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid and other benefits. Funds deposited in ABLE accounts would have to be used exclusively for disability-related expenses. If signed into law, ABLE accounts would not become available until later next year because of the need for the Internal Revenue Service to define qualifying expenses and complete other regulatory steps.

Read the Full Article on Autism Speaks.


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