History of the ABLE Act

The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2013 (S. 313/H.R.647) was introduced in the 113th Congress by a bipartisan group of Congressional Champions that included Sens. Robert Casey, Jr. (D-PA) and Richard Burr (R-NC), and Reps. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Pete Sessions (R-TX).

On December 3, 2014, the ABLE Act passed in the U.S. House of Representatives (404-17). Two weeks later, on December 16, the U.S. Senate voted to pass the ABLE Act as a part of the Tax Extenders package, a group of more than 50 tax breaks that expired at the end of 2013. On Friday, December 19, 2014, President Barack Obama signed the Tax Extenders package, making the ABLE Act the law of the land.

The ABLE Act amends Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Service Code of 1986 to create tax-free savings accounts for individuals with disabilities. By making tax-free savings accounts available to cover qualified disability-related expenses (including education, housing and transportation), this law aims to ease financial strains faced by individuals with disabilities. Additionally, the funds contributed into these accounts will not negatively impact the person’s eligibility for public benefits, such as Medicaid. The funds in these accounts don’t replace benefits provided through private insurances, the Medicaid program, the Supplemental Security Income program, the beneficiary’s employment and other sources. Instead, the funds supplement these benefits.

Use the links below to view the legislative summary of H.R. 647 and find out if your senators and representative cosponsored the ABLE Act of 2013:

The ABLE Age Adjustment Act

The ABLE Age Adjustment Act (S.331 and H.R. 1219) was reintroduced in the 117th Congress (2021-2022) on February 23, 2021. Similar legislation was introduced in the 115th Congress (2017-2018) as S. 817 and H.R. 1874 and in the 116th Congress (2019-2020) as S.651 and H.R. 1814 with significant bipartisan support.

The current bill would amend Section 529A of the Internal Revenue Code with respect to qualified ABLE programs by increasing the age of eligibility for an ABLE account from the onset of disability prior to age 26 to an onset of disability prior to age 46. Passage of this legislation would allow an additional 6 million or more people with disabilities become eligible to open an ABLE account. This critical legislation would increase the financial security of people across the spectrum of disabilities without jeopardizing their much-needed public benefits.

As introduced, the original ABLE Act did not have an age restriction. After review by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), the age restriction was added to reduce the costs associated with enactment of the ABLE Act. Supporters vowed to work to address this inequity and the proposed age limit of 46, while still inequitable, is an effort to solve the problem in a more equitable and cost effective manner. For more information see the National Association of State Treasurers ABLE Age Adjustment Act Toolkit.