Last Wednesday, a vote of 404-to-17 in the U.S. House of Representatives moved forward legislation that would allow people with disabilities to save money without jeopardizing their government benefits. The bill — known as Achieving a Better Life Experience Act, or ABLE — could be slated for a vote in the Senate as early as this week.
Sara Weir, interim president of the National Down Syndrome Society, stated, “This is historic for the disability community. I can’t think of another piece of legislation that puts a stake in the ground that says that people with disabilities can work and save money.” She added,
This is a bill that allows families and people with disabilities to save their own money. This is not a handout.”
The bill would allow people whose disability occurred before age 26 to create ABLE accounts at any financial institution and deposit up to $14,000 annually under current gift-tax limitations. As much as $100,000 could be saved in the proposed accounts without risking eligibility for Social Security and other government benefits. In addition, they could retain Medicaid coverage no matter how much money is deposited.
Modeled after the popular 529 college savings plans, interest earned on savings within the accounts would be tax-free. Money saved could be used to pay for education, health care, transportation, housing, and other expenses.
Condensed from a recent post at DisabilityScoop.com