On April 5, bi-partisan group of Members of Congress, including Senators Richard Burr (R-NC), Bob Casey (D-PA), Jerry Moran (R-KA), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Representatives Pete Sessions (R-Texas), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), Tony Cardenas (D–Calif.) and Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), introduced a package of bills designed to improve upon the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act which was signed into law in 2014. The ABLE Act established a tax benefit, allowing individuals with disabilities and their families to set aside funds to be used for qualified expenses related to their disability. States administer ABLE accounts which function similarly to Section 529 education accounts. Several states have now established the framework necessary to administer the plans. The new bills seek to expand the use and eligibility for ABLE accounts. The trio of proposed bills are detailed below:
ABLE to Work Act (S. 818/H.R. 1896): This legislation would allow an ABLE beneficiary who earns income for a job to save up to the Federal Poverty Level, which is currently at $11,770, in addition to their annual contribution limit of $14,000. This is targeted to assist only those disabled individuals who cannot contribute to an employer retirement saving plan.
ABLE Financial Planning Act (S. 816/H.R. 1897): This legislation allows for rollovers from a 529 to a 529A account, but still maintains the annual contribution limit of $14,000. This would allow individuals who may have been saving for their child’s college tuition, which is now no longer needed, to rollover up to the maximum contribution each year until the 529 account has been depleted.
ABLE Age Adjustment Act (S. 817/H.R. 1874): This legislation raises the age limit for eligibility to open an ABLE account from age 25 to 45. Increasing the age limit allows access to ABLE accounts for individuals who may face debilitating diseases, accidents or mental illnesses later in life, including multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and paralysis or other ailments due to an accident.