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Friday, November 21, 2014

House Will Vote on ABLE Act

Kevin Derby reports at Sunshine State News:
U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla., the chairman of the House Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, will have a busy Thanksgiving season since his “Achieving a Better Life Experience Act” (ABLE Act) will hit the House floor in early December. Crenshaw’s bill would create tax-free savings accounts for disabled Americans .
The ABLE Act is headed for a vote in December – testament to the widespread support for millions who face the daily struggle of living with disabilities,” Crenshaw said on Wednesday. “They deserve the same financial planning tools available to other Americans. My bill gives them just that by empowering families to live healthy and independent lives through tax-free savings accounts.
At Heritage, Robert Rector and Romina Boccia say that the bill would expand the welfare state.  The abstract:
The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act would establish tax-favored savings accounts for individuals with disabilities. The problem is that the ABLE Act takes a decisive step in expanding the welfare state. It eliminates asset tests for all means-tested welfare programs for families with a child who is eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI); it also eliminates the asset test for all welfare when disabled children become adults. Even absent the ABLE Act’s impact on means-tested spending, rather than singling out another group of beneficiaries for the tax-neutral treatment of savings, Congress should end multiple taxation of savings for all Americans. Congress should not eliminate the asset test for all families with children on SSI. Congress should reform the treatment of savings for all Americans and preserve means-tested program benefits for those Americans who need them the most.
This argument fails to note that the ABLE Act would help disabled people get the education and training they need to secure gainful employment -- and thus stay off the welfare rolls in the first place.