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Contact your member of Congress or U.S. Senators TODAY and ask them to cosponsor the ABLE Adjustment Act! #ExpandABLE

Join APSE in supporting passage of important legislation designed to expand and protect ABLE Accounts – an important tool that makes it easier for people with disabilities to build greater financial security and independence through saving and earning money without losing health benefits and other needed supports.  Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and U.S. Representative Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) re-introduced the ABLE Age Adjustment Act (S. 817/ H.R. 1874) this year; if passed, this bill would expand eligibility for ABLE accounts by expanding the age of onset of disability from age 26 to 46.

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Since 2014, the ABLE Act has allowed individuals who acquired their disabilities before the age of 26 (and who meet other eligibility criteria) to save funds in tax-advantaged ABLE accounts (similar to 529 college savings accounts) to pay for disability-related expenses. The assets in these accounts are excluded from eligibility determinations for programs like Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid.

Because the current ABLE program is limited to individuals who acquired their disabilities before age 26, others whose disabilities or conditions were diagnosed or acquired after age 26 (those with traumatic brain or spinal cord injuries, mental illness, MS and veterans) are not currently eligible for ABLE accounts.

The limit on ABLE accounts to those under the age of 26 was added in order to reduce the cost of the original bill (based on a score that the Congressional Budget Office determines for a 10-year cost projection).  This is an issue for two reasons:

  1. Millions of individuals are ineligible for ABLE accounts simply because they acquired their disabilities after an arbitrary age (26) and are therefore unable to take advantage of this program.
  2. The long-term sustainability, availability, and affordability of ABLE programs to individuals with disabilities are in doubt without the expansion of eligibility. Recent data from the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST) shows that passage of the ABLE Age Adjustment Act is critical for the sustainability of the ABLE programs. According to the NAST Sustainability Report, the “age increase legislation…will be paramount to achieving ABLE sustainability…”.[1]

ABLE accounts can support long-term employment for several reasons.  Account holders may contribute up to $14,000 per year without (up to a total of $100,000) without jeopardizing eligibility for SSI and Medicaid. Individuals who earn above the Social Security Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) limits may save up to $25,000 per year. This amount may be the difference between relying solely on benefits and enabling an individual to live independently; it may also enable individuals who are concerned about jeopardizing benefits from turning down raises or promotions to keep their earnings artificially low. The ability to work, earn, and build assets are keys to a life of independence. Opening an ABLE account can be an important tool in paving an independent path.

 

Please call or email your Representative and your Senators TODAY and ask them to co-sponsor the ABLE Age Adjustment Act. Click here to take Action.

Join us in a social media push for ABLE send a Facebook post or tweet to your Member of Congress asking them to co-sponsor the ABLE Act! Be sure to use the hashtag #ExpandABLE 

 

[1] CCD brief: “Fulfill the Promise of Economic Empowerment of People With Disabilities and Preserve the Sustainability of ABLE Programs: Pass the ABLE Age Adjustment Act (H.R. 1874/S. 817).