Legislation was introduced earlier this month to increase access to the ABLE Program, (Achieving a Better Life Experience) designed to enable individuals with disabilities to save for and pay for disability-related expenses. Set up in 2014, ABLE accounts permit people with disabilities to save up to $100,000 without risking eligibility for Social Security and other government benefits. Under ABLE rules, Medicaid is maintained no matter how much is saved in the accounts, up to the $100,000 limit. What is being changed as of this month’s ABLE Age Adjustment Act, S. 651, is those with disabilities that present by age 46 could open these types of accounts. The current law limits ABLE accounts to those with disabilities that present prior to age 26.
This change will increase the number of account holders and is necessary in order for this program to promote sustainability. At the end of last year, 34,707 ABLE accounts were open across the country with $171.7 million in assets, according to Strategic Insight, a consulting firm tracking ABLE account trends. However, according to the National Association of State Treasurers, which represent state ABLE administrators and program managers, 390,000 accounts are needed by June, 2021 for ABLE programs to achieve sustainability. The senators behind the bill said that another 6.1 million people are estimated to be eligible for ABLE accounts if the ABLE Age Adjustment Act is approved.
Currently S.651, ABLE Age Adjustment Act has been referred to the Senate Committee on Finance and has been reintroduced in the House (H.R. 1814) where last week it was referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means. This will need to pass both the Senate and the House of Representatives before going to the President to become Law.
To have your voice heard, contact your legislators at https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/116/s651/comment and you can refer to the Senate’s bill at https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/116/s651 and the House’s bill at https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/1814/cosponsors
To learn more about Oklahoma’s program, called “Oklahoma STABLE”, click here: https://okstable.org/