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Monday, September 17, 2012

An Argument for the ABLE Act

At the Autism Speaks blog, Sara Hart Weir, vice president for advocacy & affiliate relations with the National Down Syndrome Society, offers a guest post about the ABLE Act:
Each year, Steve and Catherine Beck put away money tax-free to save for their daughter Mariae’s college education, but the tax code restricts them from saving tax-free for their daughter Natalie, who happens to have Down syndrome. The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), along with 50 national organizations including Autism Speaks, the National Fragile X Foundation, The Arc, Special Olympics, and many others, think that's wrong and are supporting legislation to fix it – the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act (S. 1872/H.R. 3423).
Currently, families can save for their typical children's education through tax-advantaged 529 education savings accounts. Our ABLE Act would expand the use of 529 accounts to help cover disability-related expenses, enabling parents of children and adults with disabilities to save for their futures just like every other American.
Here’s how it works: the ABLE Act creates a new savings mechanism for people with disabilities under the current 529 savings plan. This account would allow individuals with disabilities and their families to save money to be used for education, medical and dental care, job training, housing, transportation and other expenses. Contributions to the account would grow tax-free and withdrawals for disability expenses would also be tax-free.
From a Friday release by House sponsor Ander Crenshaw (R-FL):
Support for passage of the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE Act) reached its highest point ever this week - 207 U.S. House co-sponsors.
Together with 30 U.S. Senate co-sponsors and nearly 50 national, state, and local disability advocacy organizations, this group clearly understands the need to provide individuals with disabilities with tax-free savings accounts. But, we can’t let the momentum slow down.
There is no more time to waste in opening the door to economic peace of mind to 54 million individuals with disabilities across this nation. It’s a question of fairness and equality, and passage of this bill is long overdue.