On July 31st , the House Ways and Means Committee voted unanimously to report H.R. 647, the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act , out of Committee - one step closer to an up or down vote by the entire U.S. House of Representatives.
The ABLE Act, if enacted, would allow Americans with disabilities and their families or caretakers the opportunity to create a tax-exempt savings account. An ABLE account would function like a Roth IRA or a 529 Savings account. The money set aside in an ABLE account would not count as an asset when calculating SSI, SSDI or Medicaid eligibility. Set aside funds can be used toward specific expenses including healthcare, education, housing, transportation, employment support and general welfare.
This bill will better the lives of millions of Americans with disabilities. Or, as Sara Wolff, a self advocate, testified at a recent hearing, “Just because I have Down Syndrome, there is no reason it (Down Syndrome) should hold me back from my goals of achieving a better life. Because of these outdated laws I am held back from my life… You have an opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of those who have disabilities in the U.S.”
We at National Disability Institute (NDI) wholeheartedly agree with Sara and stand behind the countless people with disabilities and their families looking to save, plan and build a more financially secure future. That is why we applaud the work and progress Congress has made and urge them to move swiftly and pass the piece of legislation prior to the adjournment of the 113th Congress.
To date, the ABLE Act enjoys broad bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. Currently, the bill has 364 House cosponsors and has another 74 cosponsors in the Senate.