ABLE Act Helps Those With Disabilities Cover Their Expenses

**UPDATE 12/17/2014 Congress passes ABLE Act allowing for tax-free savings for disabled**

Members of Congress are considering creating a new, tax-free savings account for people with disabilities.

The vast majority of democrats and republicans in both chambers are behind the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, which would create the new accounts. The bill would allow individuals with disabilities or their families to open a tax-sheltered savings account to pay for certain long-term expenses. The accounts would be similar to the current 529 program that allows families to save for college education, and would be called 529A accounts, said Sara Hart Weir, the vice president of advocacy for the National Down Syndrome Society.

Supporters on and off Capitol Hill say the new savings option is needed because people with many disabilities now face a disincentive to work or go to school. Many parents of children with disabilities are told not to save so their children will qualify for services. In order to be eligible for many benefits including Medicare and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This account would let them put money aside for long-term expenses that Medicaid and SSI don’t cover, things like education, housing, a job coach, or transportation. Currently, one can only have $2,000 in assets and earn $700 a month. The current eligibility law dates to 1974. This account would let them put money aside for long-term expenses that Medicaid and SSI don’t cover.

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