The ABLE Act, also known as the Achieving Better Life Experience Act, is probably the most important piece of legislation regarding people with disabilities since the Americans with Disabilities Act. ABLE allows for people to have an account where they can save and plan for unexpected expenses related to disabilities without losing federal disability funding or Medicaid. ABLE accounts are similar in design to 529 Plans. Both plans allow people to save pretax income for expenses.
Before the creation of ABLE, paying for supplies needed to address disability left people with disabilities with difficult choices. In order to qualify to receive much-needed government resources people could not have more than $2,000 to their name or $3,000 for a couple. So to pay for supports people with disabilities needed to either depend on private charity, or families for financial support, or stay poor to qualify for government supported resources. This put people like me in a challenging place. I couldn’t have money so I couldn’t get help, but I needed money to spend on services to help me address my disability.
Aside from everyday living expenses like rent, bills, and transportation, people with disabilities sometimes need to spend money on extra things for support.
Below is a list of examples of what people with disabilities might need to spend money on:
1. Service Dog
2. Personal Care Assistant
4. Equipment, such as wheelchairs
Now people with disabilities can save money in an ABLE account that will allow them to save for things they need, but without the penalty of losing government assistance. This allows people with disabilities greater independence and freedom of choice. I look forward to the new opportunities that these savings accounts provide for folks with a disability.
Thanks to our guest blogger Bill Sitter for contributing to this blog! Bill Sitter is a resident of Rogers Park and masters graduate of Roosevelt University. He is also a former member of JJs List Disability Awareness Players and No Boundaries Group. He currently works at People Scout as a screener and is pursuing a career in public service.