Welch aims to permanently extend provisions relating to ABLE accounts

Vermont Business Magazine Last week, U.S. Senator Peter Welch (D-Vermont) joined Senator Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.) and a group of bipartisan colleagues in introducing the bipartisan Ensuring Nationwide Access to Better Life Experience (ENABLE) Act to allow people with disabilities and their families a permanent way to save and invest through tax-free savings accounts while protecting eligibility to federal programs like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Senators Bob Casey (D-Pa.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) also cosponsored the bill. 

“A decade ago, I was proud to support the creation of ABLE accounts through the ABLE Act. Since then, these accounts have given Vermonters with disabilities a new way to save money for living expenses like assistive technology, transportation, and accessible housing while preserving their eligibility to federal programs,” said Senator Welch. “By making key provisions of the ABLE Act permanent, our bipartisan ENABLE Act will protect access to vital federal programs so folks with disabilities have the chance to save, invest, and afford essential living expenses.” 

"My son, Stephen, was my inspiration to run for office in the first place, and since that first day, I have been a staunch advocate for standing up and making life better for those with disabilities. The ENABLE Act is a fantastic bipartisan opportunity to protect access to federal programs for those with disabilities while safeguarding their ability to invest and save. I’m grateful for the support of Senators Casey, Boozman, Welch, Kaine, Van Hollen, Tuberville, and Klobuchar, and look forward to pushing this bill across the finish line,” said Senator Schmitt. 

“For years, people with disabilities were barred from saving for the future, meaning they couldn’t save for a home, purchase needed assistive technology, or save for an accessible car. I worked to create the ABLE program to knock down those barriers, and ever since I’ve been working across the aisle to make sure the program is as effective as it can be,” said Senator Casey. “I’m grateful to have worked with Senator Schmitt on this new bipartisan bill, which will prevent some key ABLE provisions from expiring and ensure that as many people with disabilities as possible across the country can continue to benefit from opening ABLE accounts.” 

“Every human being is created by God and has inherent dignity, including those with disabilities,” said Senator Tuberville. “After 40 years in the education sector, I have seen firsthand how important it is for teachers, parents, community members, and Congress to work together to ENABLE these people for success. This legislation provides crucial safeguards for people with disabilities to help them invest, save, and achieve independence.” 

“This is a commonsense measure that helps individuals with disabilities and their caregivers invest and save for the future. I’m pleased to support this bipartisan legislation that will deliver tools allowing these families to better control their financial security,” said Senator Boozman. 

“The ABLE Act has empowered people with disabilities to take charge of their economic futures – that’s why I helped introduce this legislation and fought to pass it nearly a decade ago. Now, making these provisions permanent will ensure tens of thousands of Americans can continue to meaningfully contribute to their ABLE accounts, strengthening their financial security, independence, and overall quality of life for years to come,” said Senator Van Hollen, who while in the House of Representatives was the lead Democratic sponsor of the original ABLE Act and led the effort to pass it in 2014. 

“People with disabilities and their families often face higher living expenses and barriers to investing and saving,” said Senator Kaine. “This bipartisan bill would help them continue to access support to overcome those barriers, while protecting their ability to receive Medicaid services and other critical resources. I hope my colleagues will join us in pushing for this legislation so we can provide more financial security to these communities.” 

Created in 2014, ABLE accounts allow people with disabilities and their families to save and invest through tax-free savings accounts without losing eligibility for federal programs like Medicaid and SSI. There are over 162,000 Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) accounts, and individuals with ABLE accounts have saved $1.74 billion annually.  

Specifically, the ENABLE Act would make permanent three ABLE provisions set to expire in 2025:  

  1. ABLE to Work: An individual with a disability who is employed can contribute an additional amount to his or her ABLE account. This additional contribution cannot be greater than either:  
  • A) the prior year’s federal poverty level for a one-person household ($15,060 in 2024), or 
  • B) the beneficiary’s yearly compensation 
  1. ABLE Saver’s Credit: An individual with a disability who make qualified contributions to their ABLE account can qualify for a nonrefundable saver’s credit of up to $1,000. 
  2. 529 to ABLE rollover: An individual with a disability may rollover from a 529 education savings account to an ABLE account that are less than or equal to the annual ABLE contribution limit are not subject to income taxation. 

 

The expiration of these provisions would create barriers for individuals with disabilities to save for their future needs, while also likely ensuring further utilization of federal safety net programs. As Congress is one fight away from not reauthorizing these noncontroversial provisions, this legislation enshrines these provisions into law permanently. 

Read the full text of the ENABLE Act

View a digital version of this release. 

Source: 6.17.2024. WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Peter Welch

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