Act Would En-ABLE Access to Tax Free Funds for Individuals with Disabilities

 August 1, 2012
Posted by M&LAdmin4

Finally there’s a bill that is getting support from
Republicans and Democrats alike.  You
might wonder what topic is important enough to generate this bi-partisan
endorsement.  It’s the ABLE Act – an acronym
that stands for Achieving a Better Life Experience (for those with
disabilities).

 

The bill (known as H.R. 3423 in the House and S. 1872 in the
Senate) has had strong support from the National Disability Institute and other
disability groups from the start.  ABLE
was reintroduced in November of 2011 by Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL) and in 2012
by Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA) – and it has been gaining momentum since then.

 

Here are the nuts and bolts of the ABLE Act, which was
designed to help people with disabilities — and their families – plan for a
better financial future by saving and using their own personal funds to help maintain
their health and quality of life.

 

  • ABLE accounts would be legal and available in
    all states.

 

  • Persons with disabilities would be allowed to
    set aside funds in a tax-free savings account.

 

  • The money in this account can be withdrawn to
    cover costs of housing, health care, education, transportation, employment
    support, technology and miscellaneous expenses such as legal fees or burial costs.

 

  • Account owners would still be eligible for Medicaid and Social
    Security benefits.  This is significant
    because it would enable parents of children with disabilities to set aside
    funds that can be used for beneficial participation in daily and community
    activities.

 

  • Income earned on funds deposited to an ABLE
    account would be tax-exempt.

 

  • Assets in an ABLE account would not count toward
    the limit established for federal program eligibility, however if the account
    reaches $100,000 SSI will be suspended until the account dips below that
    amount.  Medicaid benefits would
    not be affected.

 

Who qualifies?

 

  • Anyone who is eligible for supplemental security
    income or disability income under the Social Security Act.

 

  • Or anyone
    with a medically determined physical or mental impairment resulting in significant
    and severe functional limitations which have lasted or are expected to last for
    at least 12 consecutive months or is blind, and provides a copy of their
    diagnosis signed by a physician.

 

The bill had 200 cosponsors in the House and 25 in the
Senate after its initial introduction in 2009, but time expired.  Since its reintroduction it has garnered
support from 182 members of Congress.  It
is currently under consideration in two committees – the House Committee on
Energy and Commerce and the House Committee on Ways and Means, where the
respective committee chairs will determine if the bill should advance beyond
committee.

 

If you’d like more information on the ABLE Act or want to
encourage your legislators to support and sponsor the Act, contact your Senators
or Congressional Representative today.
Every bit of support counts.

 

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