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The year 1990 saw one of the most sweeping legislation aimed to help the disabled—the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications, and any governmental activities. Now, another legislation, which received overwhelming support from the House will allow Americans with disabilities to open tax-free bank accounts.
With a vote of 404-17 on December 3, 2014, an overwhelming response since the legislation of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, the House approved the legislation called the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, which will benefit as many as 54 million disabled people and their families, especially those struggling to pay for intensive forms of care. The ABLE Act, introduced in 2006, lists 85 percent of Congress as co-sponsors and, on December 16, 2014 was voted by the U.S. Senate to become part of the Tax Extenders package. Finally, on December 19, the President of the United States signed the Tax Extenders package, thereby enforcing the ABLE Act.
Under the ABLE Act, families would be able to set up tax-free bank accounts at financial institutions and deposit up to $14,000 annually to pay for long-term needs such as education and health care. These accounts could accrue by as much as $100,000 in savings. Supporters, especially those with children suffering from Down syndrome, has expressed unwavering support for its passage, and even William Daroff from the Jewish Federations of North America has called the act’s passage in the House as a “tremendous” day.
The bill hasn’t had a smooth journey into passage, with issues and budget cuts, reaching to $2 billion, and even reaching a compromise of people having to be diagnosed with disability by age 26 to qualify for the program. Aside from this, the same set of qualifications laid down by the government will apply in determining Social Security disability eligibility.
Over 100 coalition groups in favor of the legislation says that this measure will allow families to save money that is earned on their own, and they won’t be held back by the fear of losing their eligibility for a federal benefits program. With over 74 senators co-sponsoring the act, its passage is not a surprise, thus people with disabilities are now given more financial security.
While the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act ended the discrimination of people with disabilities, the new ABLE Act will help their families financially. If unsure whether a disabled person in your family is eligible for this new act or not, contact reliable Social Security disability lawyers, like those from Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, who offer legal services concerning disability benefits and eligibility, to name a few.
(Source: House OKs Bill to Widen Federal Help for Disabled, ABC News, December 3, 2014)
Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law