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What is the ABLE Act?

It's been in the works for more than eight years. The "Achieving a Better Life Experience" Act, also known as ABLE, was the idea of a father who had a daughter with Down syndrome. After presenting his idea to the Down Syndrome Association of Northern Virginia, and it ended up in front of Rep. Ander Crenshaw, (R-FL). Rep. Crenshaw fought for the bill's passage, although it took some time to get it to a vote.

So, what is the ABLE Act? It is a law that allows those with disabilities to open savings accounts in order to pay for certain expenses -- tax-free. Before the law was passed, people with disabilities couldn't set money aside and keep it safe from the Internal Revenue Service. Such an account would keep them from getting Social Security and Medicaid benefits.

Rep. Crenshaw said that allowing people with disabilities to put money into a savings account tax-free is "touching the lives of a lot of Americans.... You can save money to go to college or to retire, but they couldn't save money to use for disability expenditures.... It was forced impoverishment."

The bill passed overwhelmingly, with a vote of 404 to 17 in the House and 76 to 16 in the Senate. Rep. Crenshaw said that the Republicans and Democrats coming together as well as the House and the Senate was a rare case. One of the reasons why it took so long was because there were tax code changes involved.

There are some limitations to the ABLE Act, though. Should the balance of the account go over $100,000, then the person's SSI check will be offset. For people with disabilities, however, the chance to save money just like anyone else helps them accomplish an important goal.

If you want to learn more about the ABLE Act and how it can affect some family law issues, then the advice and guidance of an experienced family law attorney is recommended.

Source: The Boston Globe, "A disabilities act, long in planning, is finally law," Joan Vennochi, accessed Sep. 09, 2015

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