April 8, 2019
What is the ABLE Age Adjustment Act?
The ABLE Age Adjustment Act (S. 651/H.R. 1814) would amend Section 529A(e) of the Internal Revenue Code to increase the eligibility threshold for ABLE accounts for onset of disability from prior to age 26 to prior to age 46. ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) accounts are tax-advantaged accounts that are designed to enable individuals with disabilities to save and pay for qualified disability expenses.
Previously introduced in the 114th and 115th Congresses, the bipartisan ABLE Age Adjustment Act has been reintroduced in the 116th Congress by Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Pat Roberts (R-KS). A House version was also recently reintroduced by Representatives Tony Cardenas (D-CA) and Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-WA).
Why is an increase in the age of eligibility necessary?
As currently written, the existing ABLE Act prevents otherwise-eligible individuals with disabilities (many of whom spent years advocating for the Act) from realizing the benefits of ABLE accounts. By passing the ABLE Age Adjustment Act, more than 14 million people with disabilities would be allowed to open ABLE accounts, nearly doubling the currently eligible population. Passing this critical legislation will increase the financial security of people across the spectrum of disabilities without jeopardizing their much-needed public benefits.
Why is it important that the ABLE Age Adjustment Act be passed this Congress?
There are now over 40 state ABLE programs that empower individuals with disabilities, either in their own states or nationwide, to achieve and maintain health, independence and quality of life. However, the long-term sustainability, availability and affordability of these programs are in doubt without this expansion of eligibility. Data from the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST) in 2017 showed that passage of the ABLE Age Adjustment Act is critical for the sustainability of ABLE programs. According to the NAST’s Sustainability Report, the “age increase legislation… will be paramount to achieving ABLE sustainability…”
How can you help?
Advocates should reach out to each of their two U.S. Senators and their member of the U.S. House of Representatives and urge them to cosponsor the ABLE Age Adjustment Act, S. 651 in the Senate, and H.R. 1814 in the House. Members of Congress need to hear that it is imperative that the legislation be enacted immediately both to bolster the national viability of state ABLE programs and to dramatically expand the reach and benefit of ABLE accounts to individuals who experience disability for the first time before the age of 46. Find and contact your elected officials.