Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act Signed

The legislation known as the ABLE Act — Achieving a Better Life Experience — was signed into law by President Barack Obama on December 19, 2014.  The bill allows families of children with disabilities to save for college and other expenses in tax-deferred accounts and is considered to be the broadest legislation to help people with disabilities in decades, since Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990.

The ABLE Act amends the Internal Revenue Service Code to allow use of tax-free savings accounts for individuals with disabilities, and allows families to use savings account funds to pay for education, housing, medical, and transportation, among other expenses. Until now, families of children with disabilities had little incentive to save for their future, because if they saved more than $2,000 for college, an apartment, or transportation to work, they risked losing (for their children) critical benefits, including medical and supplemental coverage.

Other Important Legislation

Good news for Ohio self-advocates! The state’s General Assembly passed a bill last month that requires all new signs erected to designate accessible parking spaces to use the word ‘accessible’ instead of the word ‘handicapped.’ This bill has been introduced in some form during the last two sessions of the Ohio General Assembly, most recently as Senate Bill 55. The Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council (DD Council) notes that during hearings on a separate bill, House Bill 552, requiring the Ohio Department of Health to create and distribute an information sheet for new parents of children with Down Syndrome, the Senate amended the bill to also include the language contained in Senate Bill 55. Congratulations to the many advocates who helped educate their legislators about this issue.