ABLE Legislation May Help Pave the Road to Self-Sufficiency


In September, a bipartisan group of four U.S. senators announced that the groundwork had been laid for the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act to become a reality. The bill, S.313 and H.R.647, seeks to “encourage and assist individuals and families in saving private funds for the purpose of supporting individuals with disabilities.”

Senators Richard Burr (R-NC), Bob Casey (D-PA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) said in a joint statement that the Senate has “reached a policy agreement that will serve as the foundation for the final passage [of the act].” If passed, the act will allow people with disabilities to accrue savings that will help them to (in the senators’ words) “maintain health, independence, and quality of life.”

The senators also state that they are committed to seeking passage in the House and a signature from President Obama, most likely after the midterm elections but before the new Congress is sworn in.

If the legislation passes, a person with disabilities could open an ABLE account, and deposit up to $100,000 without interfering with existing benefits. Like 529 Plans, which allow people to save for college tuition for their children, ABLE accounts would be tax-free. As it stands, most people with disabilities who use government support cannot save more than $2,000 without risking penalties or diminished benefits.

In an article in, Florida Rep. Ander Crenshaw stated, “Our tax code currently provides advantages to help Americans save for college and retirement, yet people with disabilities do not enjoy those same financial planning tools.”

The DirectCourse/College of Employment Services (CES) curriculum trains professionals to help people with disabilities find—and maintain—quality employment. With passage of the ABLE Act, Americans with disabilities will be able to save more money from their jobs, which augments confidence and self-sufficiency.

Learn more about CES here.

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