July 26, 2018
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a landmark civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability. To celebrate the 28th anniversary of its enactment, please take a few minutes to call or email your legislators to ask them to support the ABLE Age Adjustment Act (S.817/HR 1874). This bill would amend Section 529A(e) of the Internal Revenue Code to increase the eligibility for Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) accounts for onset of disability from prior to age 26 to prior to age 46 so that millions more people with disabilities can take advantage of this important savings tool. Despite nearly three decades under ADA law, people with disabilities still regularly encounter discrimination in many aspects of life, including lacking financial opportunities to save for their future and enhance their quality of life. Together we can advocate to #ExpandABLE and pass the #ABLEAgeAdjustment Act.
First introduced in the 114th Congress, the bipartisan ABLE Age Adjustment Act was re-introduced in the 115th Congress by Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Richard Burr (R-NC), and Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Pete Sessions (R-TX), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Chris Smith (R-NJ), and Jim Langevin (D-RI). The limitation on eligibility based on age of onset of disability did not exist in the original ABLE legislation, but was added at the end of the ABLE Act’s nearly ten-year legislative history to reduce the bill’s score and get it over the finish line. This concession resulted in otherwise-eligible individuals with disabilities – many of whom fought for years to get the ABLE Act passed – being prevented from realizing the benefits associated with the ABLE Act based solely on the age at which they became disabled. Nearly 160 other organizations from across the country, believe that ABLE should be expanded to include more people with disabilities, see the letter here: http://www.c-c-d.org/fichiers/CCD-Fin-Sec-TF-and-Allies-Sign-On-Letter-for-ABLE-Age-Adjustment-Act-H.R.1874-S.817-June-22-2018.pdf urging Congress to pass this bill this session.
Beyond the fairness/equity argument for increasing the age of onset, it has now become a financial imperative to pass the ABLE Age Adjustment Act. There are currently thirty-eight states with ABLE programs, yet data collected by the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST) shows that the number of ABLE accounts being opened is much lower than anticipated. The long-term sustainability, availability, and affordability of some ABLE programs for individuals with disabilities are in doubt without this expansion of eligibility (See https://nast.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/ABLE_Sustainability-Report_FINAL_04-09-18.pdf_ for the NAST Sustainability Report).
For more information about ABLE accounts, please visit the ABLE National Resource Center at www.ablenrc.org.
Ask your Senators and Representatives to support people with disabilities and their families by cosponsoring the bipartisan ABLE Age Adjustment Act (S. 817/ HR 1874). Expanding the age of onset is the right thing to do and will give more than 6 million additional people with disabilities access to this important savings tool that enables them to accumulate more than $2000 in assets without jeopardizing their benefits. Whether or not you are currently eligible for an ABLE account, we all have a stake in ensuring the success of ABLE programs so that they are sustainable and so that costs for all ABLE account owners are kept low.
Please contact your congressional members and ask them to cosponsor the ABLE Age Adjustment Act today!
To find your Senators go here: https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
To find your House of Representatives members go here: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative
- I am your constituent from [name of city and state].
- I am calling to ask Senator/Representative [NAME] to cosponsor the ABLE Age Adjustment Act (S. 817/ HR 1874).
- ABLE accounts are important to people with disabilities because they allow them the opportunity to save more than $2000 in assets -to be spent on disability related expenses – without jeopardizing their much-needed public benefits like Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid.
- Unfortunately, only people whose disabilities occurred prior to age 26 are currently eligible for ABLE accounts.
- By increasing age of onset from before age 26 to before age 46, this bill will enable at least 6 million more people with disabilities to open an ABLE account and enhance their financial independence and quality of life.
- It will also increase the likelihood that ABLE programs across the country will be sustainable and costs will be kept low.
- I hope we can count on Senator/Representative [NAME] to support the disability community and cosponsor the ABLE Age Adjustment Act!