Sens. Moran, Casey Introduce Bill to Expand ABLE Savings Program Eligibility for People with Disabilities
Mar 03 2021
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) introduced a bipartisan, bicameral bill that would expand access to saving accounts created to help people with disabilities save for future disability-related expenses. U.S. Representatives Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (D-Wash.) introduced the House companion to the bill.
The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Age Adjustment Act (S. 331) would increase program eligibility and allow people who have acquired a disability before age 46 to open ABLE accounts. ABLE accounts, which are managed by states, currently allow individuals who acquired a disability before age 26 to open a savings account for their disability expenses, without the risk of losing disability benefits such as Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid.
“The savings plan created through the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act has provided Americans with disabilities better options in preparing for their future by removing burdensome barriers within federal entitlement programs,” said Sen. Moran. “While the program has seen immense success, ABLE savings accounts are currently only available to individuals who acquire their disability prior to their 26th birthday, leaving out millions – including veterans – who would otherwise qualify. The ABLE Age Adjustment Act would expand the age of eligibility and help sustain this program on a long-term basis, providing substantial financial security for Americans with disabilities.”
“Before the passage of ABLE, people with disabilities had fewer opportunities to earn income compared to their working-age peers,” said Sen Casey. “People with disabilities are less likely to be employed, more likely to be underemployed and are twice as likely to live in poverty. Those factors, combined with significant penalties preventing people from saving, often put people with disabilities and their families in difficult financial situations. The ABLE Age Adjustment Act would make more than 6 million adults with disabilities, including 1 million veterans with disabilities, eligible to open ABLE accounts and help all people who acquire disabilities between 26 and 46 years of age to achieve financial independence and economic stability.”
“ABLE accounts already help thousands of Americans with disabilities live a fuller life,” said Rep. Cárdenas. “This legislation builds on that progress and eases the financial burden that many of these families face. It expands opportunities for parents to save for the future and support their families. I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation with my colleagues.”
“People with disabilities can often expect substantial future expenses, like healthcare, while also being more likely to be underemployed or unemployed—making it difficult to create financial security for themselves and their families,” said Rep. Chu. “Fortunately, ABLE accounts help people with disabilities to start saving for those expenses when they’re young, putting them on a path to a more stable future, without jeopardizing other forms of aid they are entitled to. This simple fix will expand the eligibility to allow those with disabilities that occur later in life to also plan for their future needs.”
“The primary goal of the ABLE Age Adjustment Act is to build on the incredible progress we’ve made to empower people with disabilities to live fuller and more independent lives,” said Rep. McMorris Rodgers. “This legislation will expand access to tax-free ABLE accounts for people who develop a disability later in life. With an ABLE account, people can invest in their education, pay for medical expenses, and look for a job. When they find a job, it can even help them cover the cost of getting to work. In short, ABLE puts our focus on every person’s abilities and God-given talents, not their limitations. There is more work to be done to build on the legacy of the ABLE Act, but I’m confident this is a great step that will empower more people to live with dignity and reach their potential.”