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Achieving a Better Life Experience

On December 19, 2014, President Barack Obama signed into law the Achieving Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. First introduced in 2006, and subsequent sessions of Congress, the ABLE Act will allow people with disabilities (with an age of onset up to 26 years old) and their families the opportunity to create a tax-exempt savings account that can be used for maintaining health, independence and quality of life.

National Disability Institute (NDI) has long championed the ABLE Act as a critical strategy to providing a pathway to a better economic future for all people with disabilities. As the nation’s first nonprofit dedicated to improving the financial health and future of all people with disabilities, the organization has extensively documented and called attention to the daily reality and extra expenses associated with living with a disability, and the challenges of navigating the complex web of government rules to maintain public benefits eligibility.

NDI applauds Congress and the Obama Administration in enacting this unprecedented piece of legislation. Going forward, at the federal level, NDI will work closely with both Chambers of Congress to expand access to ABLE accounts to more people with disabilities and, at the state level, work with legislatures to establish, implement and ensure access to ABLE accounts to their constituents with disabilities.

UPDATE: On December 18, 2015, President Obama signed into law H.R. 2029, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, which – along with the Omnibus – included a provision of particular interest to individuals with disabilities: the elimination of the state residency requirement found in the ABLE ActPrior to the elimination of the residency requirement, a qualified ABLE beneficiary could only establish an ABLE account in their particular state of residency (provided that their state was even offering an ABLE program). By allowing ABLE beneficiaries the ability to enroll in programs outside their state, the beneficiary will now be able to have further choice in choosing which program best meets their individual needs. In addition, this could mean that qualified individuals will now have the ability to open their ABLE account much sooner than otherwise thought.  We expect to see the first programs open in early- to mid- 2016.

Executive Director Michael Morris penned a Huffington Post blog commemorating the first anniversary of the ABLE Act. Read the blog on the Huffington Post website

For even more information on the ABLE Act, please read our press release or view our recent videos:

Ten Things You Must Know About ABLE Accounts

View a transcript of "Ten Things You Must Know About ABLE Accounts"


ABLE Account Planning: Six Next Steps for 2015

View a transcript of "ABLE Account Planning: Six Next Steps"