Washington, D.C. - Governor Wolf, Senator Lisa Baker of Luzerne County, and all the members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly are to be commended for the work they did to make my Achieving A Better Life Experience Act (ABLE) a reality in Pennsylvania. The ABLE Act will allow Pennsylvania families who have a loved one with a disability to save for their long term care through 529-style savings account, which are similar to what millions of families use to save for their children’s college education. Too many families who have a loved one with a disability live in fear about what will happen if they are no longer there to take care of their child or family member. ABLE accounts, which can be used for needs like healthcare, housing or education, can provide these families with a measure of economic security and peace of mind. For someone with a disability the ABLE Act also means that they can work and earn money without fear of losing critical Social Security or Medicaid benefits.
From the time I and other members of Congress began working on the ABLE Act it was rooted in a belief that we all share- that those with disabilities have a lot of ability. I believe that every child is born with a light inside of them, and that it’s the abiding obligation of all those in public office to do all we can to help that light shine. When we take steps to measurably help those with disabilities we affirm the substantial contributions they make to our quality of life and the success of our nation. If we give those with disabilities the tools, we know they can lead a full a life. I look forward to working closing with the state as it implements the ABLE Act in the coming months.
After Senator Casey’s ABLE Act became law with the President’s signature in 2014, state legislatures were required to pass accompanying legislation to allow families to open ABLE accounts. This is necessary because 529 savings plans, which ABLE accounts are nearly identical to, are administered by state governments.
The ABLE Act would amend Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Service Code to allow use of tax-free savings accounts for individuals with disabilities. The bill, first introduced in 2006, would ease financial strains faced by individuals with disabilities by making tax-free savings accounts available to cover qualified expenses such as education, housing, medical, and transportation. The bill would supplement, but not supplant, benefits provided through private insurance, the Medicaid program, the beneficiary’s employment, and other sources.