Washington, D.C. (December 6, 2014) – Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act or the ABLE Act by a wide bi-partisan majority of 404 to 17. The measure will allow many people with disabilities to establish ABLE Accounts where they could deposit up to $14,000 annually, and save as much as $100,000 without risking eligibility for Social Security, Medicaid, and other government benefits.
“The ABLE Act opens the doors of financial independence to many Americans with disabilities,” said AAPD President and CEO Mark Perriello. “I urge the U.S. Senate to take up the bill quickly, and for President Obama to sign the ABLE Act into law.”
AAPD maintains that the measure is a historic step in the right direction for a significant portion of the disabled population living in the United States. However, future legislation must address several of the bill’s shortcomings including the limitation in participation of those who acquire their disability after the age 26.
Historically, people with disabilities who rely on government services through programs such as Social Security and Medicaid face strict income limits, which has perpetuated a cycle of poverty among people with disabilities. Currently, one in three Americans with a disabilities lives below the poverty limit according to a recent study commissioned by the National Disability Institute. The ABLE Act will enable many to end this cycle of poverty and reach into the middle class for the first time.
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The American Association of People with Disabilities is a convener, connector, and catalyst for change, increasing the political and economic power of people with disabilities.