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Federal ABLE Improvement Bills

On March 17, 2016, members of the US House of Representatives and US Senate introduced three bills to enhance the Stephen Beck Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014. The bills did not pass during the 114th Congress but, on April 4, 2017, they were reintroduced in the 115th Congress. The bills were introduced in the House by Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Pete Sessions (R-TX), Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Jim Langevin (D-RI) and, in the Senate, by Richard Burr (R-NC), Bob Casey (D-PA) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). The three bills are described below.

  • The ABLE to Work Act (S 818/HR 1896) would incentivize employment by allowing ABLE beneficiaries who work and earn income, but do not participate in an employer’s retirement plan, to save additional amounts in their 529A (ABLE) accounts up to the federal poverty level (currently $12,060) in addition to the $14,000 annual maximum contribution. Beneficiaries would also be eligible for the Saver’s Credit, an existing federal tax credit that low and middle-income individuals can currently claim when they make contributions to a retirement account.  
  • The ABLE Financial Planning Act (S 816/HR 1897) would protect against life-changing events by allowing ABLE beneficiaries to roll over regular 529 accounts to 529A (ABLE) accounts up to the annual maximum contribution. This bill would be particularly helpful for families who set up 529 accounts before receiving a child’s diagnosis, or for teenagers who incur life-changing events that render them unable to go to college and use their 529 funds for their original purpose. 
  • The ABLE Age Adjustment Act (S 817/HR 1874) would improve the equitable treatment of people with disabilities by raising the age of onset of disability from 26 to 46, which would allow more individuals who become disabled later in life to take advantage of the benefits of ABLE accounts.  

In the 114th Congress, two of the bills – the ABLE to Work Act and the ABLE Financial Planning Act – advanced through the Senate Finance Committee and were scored as “negligible,” thereby not requiring an offset. By contrast, the ABLE Age Adjustment Act received a $2 billion score, which was deemed unworkable and the bill did not advance.

NDSS supports these bills aimed at making ABLE accounts more effective in promoting financial independence and more accessible to a wider population of the disability community. 

Take Action

Ask your Senators and Representative to cosponsor these bills. Advocates are encouraged to send their Members of Congress this one-pager, which provides details about the bills and about how to cosponsor them. 

  • Senators interested in cosponsoring should contact Natasha Hickman with Senator Richard Burr at [email protected] or Livia Shmavonian with Senator Bob Casey at [email protected]
  • Representatives interested in cosponsoring should contact Megan Perez with Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers at [email protected] or Jacqueline Usyk with Rep. Tony Cárdenas at [email protected]

For More Information

For more information, please contact NDSS at [email protected].

Page last updated: April 7, 2017

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