National Council on Disability Celebrates ABLE Anniversary

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WASHINGTON – The National Council on Disability (NCD)—an independent federal agency that advises the President and Congress— today celebrates the five-year anniversary of important legislation for people with disabilities.

The Stephen Beck, Jr., Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE) became law when President Barack Obama signed it on December 19, 2014.

As a result of ABLE, Section 529A tax-exempt savings accounts are available to help designated beneficiaries pay for qualified disability-related expenses, allowing individuals to invest and save up to up to $15,000 a year, or $100,000 total, with an ABLE account without losing federal benefits such as Social Security (SSI) and Medicaid. Those contributions to the accounts may come from earnings, family, friends and other sources.

Current law limits ABLE accounts to those with disabilities that onset prior to age 26. Bipartisan introductions of the ABLE Age Adjustment Act in both chambers of Congress would offer individuals with disability onset up to age 46 the ability to open accounts.

Following assignment by the House Appropriations Committee, over the past year, NCD has taken on the role of federal interagency coordinator to increase crossflow of information amongst federal, state and nongovernment agencies, and to encourage greater awareness building activities of ABLE accounts. Additionally, NCD has hosted ABLE information sessions for the public in in Jackson, Miss.; Henderson, Nev.; Humacao, Puerto Rico; and Chicago, Ill, in conjunction with quarterly meetings of the Council.

Currently 42 states (and the District of Columbia) have ABLE state programs in place that offer ABLE accounts to eligible individuals in their states.