Why You Should Care About the ABLE Age Adjustment Act

A calculator on top of graph paper with a pen to the sideWhen my mother died a few years ago, she left a small amount of money to each of her grandchildren. Except for our son Gus. We specifically asked her not to include him in her will.

Gus has significant physical and developmental disabilities and receives Medicaid and Social Security Disability Income (SSDI). Before my mother died, my husband and I had to explain to her that having even a modest amount in savings or assets could jeopardize her beloved grandson’s eligibility to receive those public benefits.

That all changed in 2014. The support of Easterseals and countless other non-profits urged lawmakers to come up with a savings tool to help families save for the future needs of their children with disabilities, and when the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) ACT was signed into law in 2014, it introduced a way for families with special needs to save in a tax-advantaged account as a supplement to private insurance and government benefits. An article in Forbes Magazine reports that more than 30 states have administered ABLE programs, and over 13,000 accounts have been opened so far. I am one of those 13,000 people with an ABLE account now –I opened one a few months ago and will use it to save for future expenses our family may face due to disability.

The ABLE Act Congress signed into law in 2014 limits the savings tool to individuals who acquired their disability before turning age 26, and a new effort is underway in Congress to raise the age limit. Increasing the age limit would ensure that more individuals with disabilities could set money aside for future needs the way that others save up for housing, employment training, personal support services, or other supports to improve their health and independence. So take action now and contact your Members of Congress to tell them to cosponsor and approve the ABLE Age Adjustment Act (H.R. 1874/ S. 817). It’s the right thing to do, and is an essential step toward achieving sustainability for the current ABLE account program.

Stay updated on legislation affecting people with disabilities, and learn how you can take action.


 

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