Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014 (H.R. 647) (S. 313)

Background:

For individuals with disabilities and their families, medical expenses can pile up. Their hefty price can make it difficult for individuals to have access to the necessary products and services to meet their medical needs. Support programs through private insurance, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), employers and more are available to individuals to make it easier for them to afford, but it is often not enough to cover all necessary services.

The benefits received by these programs are often determined by an individual’s income or savings. If the income or savings exceeded the eligibility amount specified (usually $2,000), the individual would be disqualified from the program.

The Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014 (ABLE) would allow individuals and families with disabilities to save money in a separate tax-free account that would not negatively affect their eligibility to qualify for federal support programs. These savings would supplement the individual’s current benefit plans and would not disqualify their eligibility to receive federal benefits, unless related to housing expenses or have ABLE account totals exceeding $100,000.

The purpose of ABLE accounts is to relieve the financial stress caused by the cost of disability-related services. In additional to federal benefits, the assets in ABLE accounts can be used to cover any expense related to the disability of the individual.  These expenses would include but are not limited to: education, transportation, housing, assistive technology, health services and prevention costs.

Proposed Improvements:

The ABLE Age Adjustment Act was introduced in March 2016 to raise the eligibility onset age to create an ABLE account from 26 to 46 years old. An individual may form an ABLE account at any time but the current legislation requires the individual to have developed their disability before the age of 26. By raising the onset age, ABLE could better accommodate individuals who acquire disabilities later in life, such as disabled veterans, spinal cord injuries, heart failure, or other later-developing disabilities.

The ABLE to Work Act was introduced in March 2016 to allow individuals with a disability who are employed to personally contribute to their ABLE account. In addition to the $14,000 that can be contributed by parents or guardians, the beneficiary would be able to contribute funds up to the federal poverty level, currently at $11,770 per year. Individuals would still qualify for Savers Tax Credit, a tax credit for individuals of low-to-moderate income saving for retirement.

The ABLE Financial Planning Act was introduced in March 2016 to allow families to rollover savings from their child with a disability’s 529 college saving account to an ABLE account and vice versa. This would allow families to draw previous college savings and put it in their child’s ABLE account without suffering from any taxes. It would also allow families to later draw from ABLE accounts to put into their child’s college savings account.

The 529 and ABLE Account Improvement Act was introduced in May 2016 and proposes use of tax incentives to improve college and disability savings accounts. The first part of this bill encourages businesses and employers to supplement their employees’ 529 college and ABLE accounts by offering tax incentives and reducing employer start-up costs for these accounts. The second part of this bill would allow tax-free and penalty-free rollovers from 529 accounts to ABLE accounts, payments of college loans from 529 accounts, and transfers from 529 accounts to IRA accounts. These actions are meant to encourage families and employers to set up 529 and ABLE accounts without the fear of penalties or other saving account barriers.

 

Status:

ABLE Act was introduced by Ander Crenshaw (R-FL4) in 2013 and passed in the House and the Senate. In December 2014, Obama signed the Act as part of the Tax Extenders package into law. The proposed improvements are still under review by Senate and House committees and have not received a vote.

 

Key Words:
Tax-free accounts – Bank accounts that are exempt from taxes on interest earned, contributions, or dividends, as well as allow tax free withdrawals.

 

Supporting Organizations:
Aetna Inc.
Alzheimer’s Association
Alzheimer’s Foundation of America
American Academy of Family Physicians
American Assn for Geriatric Psychiatry
American Benefits Council
American College of Cardiology
American College of Emergency Physicians
American Medical Association
American Occupational Therapy Association
American Society of Anesthesiologists
Americans for Tax Reform
America’s Health Insurance Plans
Ameriprise Financial
Arc of the US
Ariale Strategies
Autism Speaks
Blue Cross/Blue Shield
Bockorny Group
Capitol Hill Consulting Group
CF Industries
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Crossroads Strategies
Davis & Harman
Easter Seals Society
Ernst & Young
Friends Committee on National Legislation
FTI Government Affairs
Gephardt Group
Greenberg Traurig LLP
Guerney, Janis
Harlow Government Relations
Hartford Financial Services
Heritage Action for America
Highmark Inc.
Investment Co Institute
Jewish Federation of Metro Chicago
Jones Walker LLP
Kearney, Donovan & McGee
Kindred Healthcare
King & Spalding
Mason Consulting
Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance
McBee Strategic Consulting
Mental Health America
Muscular Dystrophy Association
Nathanson & Hauck
National Assn of Insurance & Financial Advisors
National Down Syndrome Society
Nationwide
Parkinson’s Action Network
Podesta Group
Principal Financial Group
Rampy Northrup LLC
Roy, Kevin
Securities Industry & Financial Mkt Assn
Smith-Free Group
Teamsters Union
The O Team
TriNet Group Inc.
United Spinal Association
US Chamber of Commerce
Vanguard Group
W Strategies
Waterways Council
Williams & Jensen

 

Cosponsors:
House of Representatives
Amodei, Mark [R-NV2]
Andrews, Robert “Rob” [D-NJ1]
Bachmann, Michele [R-MN6]
Bachus, Spencer [R-AL6]
Barber, Ron [D-AZ2]
Barletta, Lou [R-PA11]
Barr, Garland “Andy” [R-KY6]
Barton, Joe [R-TX6]
Bass, Karen [D-CA37]
Beatty, Joyce [D-OH3]
Benishek, Dan [R-MI1]
Bentivolio, Kerry [R-MI11]
Bera, Ami [D-CA7]
Bilirakis, Gus [R-FL12]
Bishop, Rob [R-UT1]
Bishop, Sanford [D-GA2]
Bishop, Timothy [D-NY1]
Black, Diane [R-TN6]
Blackburn, Marsha [R-TN7]
Blumenauer, Earl [D-OR3]
Bonamici, Suzanne [D-OR1]
Bonner, Jo [R-AL1]
Boustany, Charles [R-LA3]
Brady, Kevin [R-TX8]
Brady, Robert [D-PA1]
Braley, Bruce [D-IA1]
Brooks, Susan [R-IN5]
Broun, Paul [R-GA10]
Brown, Corrine [D-FL5]
Brownley, Julia [D-CA26]
Buchanan, Vern [R-FL16]
Bucshon, Larry [R-IN8]
Burgess, Michael [R-TX26]
Bustos, Cheri [D-IL17]
Butterfield, George [D-NC1]
Byrne, Bradley [R-AL1]
Calvert, Ken [R-CA42]
Capito, Shelley [R-WV2]
Capps, Lois [D-CA24]
Capuano, Michael [D-MA7]
Cárdenas, Tony [D-CA29]
Carney, John [D-DE0]
Carson, André [D-IN7]
Carter, John [R-TX31]
Cartwright, Matthew [D-PA17]
Cassidy, Bill [R-LA6]
Castor, Kathy [D-FL14]
Castro, Joaquin [D-TX20]
Chabot, Steve [R-OH1]
Chu, Judy [D-CA27]
Cicilline, David [D-RI1]
Clark, Katherine [D-MA5]
Clarke, Yvette [D-NY9]
Clay, Lacy [D-MO1]
Cleaver, Emanuel [D-MO5]
Coble, Howard [R-NC6]
Coffman, Mike [R-CO6]
Cohen, Steve [D-TN9]
Cole, Tom [R-OK4]
Collins, Doug [R-GA9]
Conaway, Michael [R-TX11]
Connolly, Gerald [D-VA11]
Conyers, John [D-MI13]
Cook, Paul [R-CA8]
Cooper, Jim [D-TN5]
Costa, Jim [D-CA16]
Cotton, Tom [R-AR4]
Courtney, Joe [D-CT2]
Cramer, Kevin [R-ND0]
Crawford, Eric “Rick” [R-AR1]
*Crenshaw, Ander [R-FL4]
Crowley, Joseph “Joe” [D-NY14]
Cuellar, Henry [D-TX28]
Culberson, John [R-TX7]
Cummings, Elijah [D-MD7]
Daines, Steve [R-MT0]
Davis, Danny [D-IL7]
Davis, Rodney [R-IL13]
Davis, Susan [D-CA53]
DeFazio, Peter [D-OR4]
Delaney, John [D-MD6]
DeLauro, Rosa [D-CT3]
DelBene, Suzan [D-WA1]
Denham, Jeff [R-CA10]
Dent, Charles [R-PA15]
DeSantis, Ron [R-FL6]
DesJarlais, Scott [R-TN4]
Deutch, Theodore [D-FL21]
Diaz-Balart, Mario [R-FL25]
Doggett, Lloyd [D-TX35]
Doyle, Michael “Mike” [D-PA14]
Duckworth, Tammy [D-IL8]
Duffy, Sean [R-WI7]
Duncan, John “Jimmy” [R-TN2]
Edwards, Donna [D-MD4]
Ellison, Keith [D-MN5]
Ellmers, Renee [R-NC2]
Engel, Eliot [D-NY16]
Enyart, William [D-IL12]
Eshoo, Anna [D-CA18]
Esty, Elizabeth [D-CT5]
Farenthold, Blake [R-TX27]
Farr, Sam [D-CA20]
Fattah, Chaka [D-PA2]
Fincher, Stephen [R-TN8]
Fitzpatrick, Michael [R-PA8]
Fleischmann, Charles “Chuck” [R-TN3]
Fleming, John [R-LA4]
Flores, Bill [R-TX17]
Forbes, Randy [R-VA4]
Fortenberry, Jeff [R-NE1]
Frankel, Lois [D-FL22]
Franks, Trent [R-AZ8]
Frelinghuysen, Rodney [R-NJ11]
Fudge, Marcia [D-OH11]
Gabbard, Tulsi [D-HI2]
Gallego, Pete [D-TX23]
Garamendi, John [D-CA3]
Garcia, Joe [D-FL26]
Gardner, Cory [R-CO4]
Gerlach, Jim [R-PA6]
Gibbs, Bob [R-OH7]
Gibson, Christopher [R-NY19]
Gingrey, Phil [R-GA11]
Goodlatte, Bob [R-VA6]
Gosar, Paul [R-AZ4]
Granger, Kay [R-TX12]
Graves, Sam [R-MO6]
Grayson, Alan [D-FL9]
Green, Al [D-TX9]
Green, Gene [D-TX29]
Griffin, Tim [R-AR2]
Griffith, Morgan [R-VA9]
Grimm, Michael [R-NY11]
Guthrie, Brett [R-KY2]
Gutiérrez, Luis [D-IL4]
Hahn, Janice [D-CA44]
Hall, Ralph [R-TX4]
Hanna, Richard [R-NY22]
Harper, Gregg [R-MS3]
Harris, Andy [R-MD1]
Hastings, Alcee [D-FL20]
Hastings, Doc [R-WA4]
Heck, Denny [D-WA10]
Heck, Joseph [R-NV3]
Hensarling, Jeb [R-TX5]
Herrera Beutler, Jaime [R-WA3]
Higgins, Brian [D-NY26]
Himes, James [D-CT4]
Hinojosa, Rubén [D-TX15]
Holding, George [R-NC13]
Holt, Rush [D-NJ12]
Honda, Michael “Mike” [D-CA17]
Horsford, Steven [D-NV4]
Hudson, Richard [R-NC8]
Huffman, Jared [D-CA2]
Huizenga, Bill [R-MI2]
Hultgren, Randy [R-IL14]
Hunter, Duncan [R-CA50]
Hurt, Robert [R-VA5]
Israel, Steve [D-NY3]
Jackson Lee, Sheila [D-TX18]
Jeffries, Hakeem [D-NY8]
Jenkins, Lynn [R-KS2]
Johnson, Bill [R-OH6]
Johnson, Eddie [D-TX30]
Johnson, Henry “Hank” [D-GA4]
Johnson, Sam [R-TX3]
Jolly, David [R-FL13]
Jones, Walter [R-NC3]
Jordan, Jim [R-OH4]
Joyce, David [R-OH14]
Kaptur, Marcy [D-OH9]
Keating, William [D-MA9]
Kelly, Mike [R-PA3]
Kennedy, Joseph [D-MA4]
Kildee, Daniel [D-MI5]
Kilmer, Derek [D-WA6]
Kind, Ron [D-WI3]
King, Peter “Pete” [R-NY2]
Kinzinger, Adam [R-IL16]
Kirkpatrick, Ann [D-AZ1]
Kline, John [R-MN2]
Kuster, Ann [D-NH2]
LaMalfa, Doug [R-CA1]
Lance, Leonard [R-NJ7]
Langevin, James “Jim” [D-RI2]
Larsen, Rick [D-WA2]
Larson, John [D-CT1]
Latham, Tom [R-IA3]
Latta, Robert [R-OH5]
Lee, Barbara [D-CA13]
Lewis, John [D-GA5]
Lipinski, Daniel [D-IL3]
LoBiondo, Frank [R-NJ2]
Loebsack, David [D-IA2]
Lofgren, Zoe [D-CA19]
Long, Billy [R-MO7]
Lowenthal, Alan [D-CA47]
Lowey, Nita [D-NY17]
Luetkemeyer, Blaine [R-MO3]
Lujan Grisham, Michelle [D-NM1]
Luján, Ben [D-NM3]
Lynch, Stephen [D-MA8]
Maffei, Daniel [D-NY24]
Maloney, Carolyn [D-NY12]
Maloney, Sean [D-NY18]
Marchant, Kenny [R-TX24]
Marino, Tom [R-PA10]
Markey, Edward “Ed” [D-MA5]
Massie, Thomas [R-KY4]
Matheson, Jim [D-UT4]
Matsui, Doris [D-CA6]
McAllister, Vance [R-LA5]
McCarthy, Carolyn [D-NY4]
McCaul, Michael [R-TX10]
McClintock, Tom [R-CA4]
McCollum, Betty [D-MN4]
McDermott, Jim [D-WA7]
McGovern, James “Jim” [D-MA2]
McHenry, Patrick [R-NC10]
McIntyre, Mike [D-NC7]
McKeon, Howard “Buck” [R-CA25]
McKinley, David [R-WV1]
McMorris Rodgers, Cathy [R-WA5]
McNerney, Jerry [D-CA9]
Meadows, Mark [R-NC11]
Meehan, Patrick [R-PA7]
Meeks, Gregory [D-NY5]
Meng, Grace [D-NY6]
Messer, Luke [R-IN6]
Mica, John [R-FL7]
Miller, Candice [R-MI10]
Miller, Jeff [R-FL1]
Moore, Gwen [D-WI4]
Moran, James “Jim” [D-VA8]
Mulvaney, Mick [R-SC5]
Murphy, Patrick [D-FL18]
Murphy, Tim [R-PA18]
Nadler, Jerrold [D-NY10]
Napolitano, Grace [D-CA32]
Neal, Richard [D-MA1]
Negrete McLeod, Gloria [D-CA35]
Neugebauer, Randy [R-TX19]
Noem, Kristi [R-SD0]
Nolan, Richard [D-MN8]
Norton, Eleanor [D-DC0]
Nugent, Richard [R-FL11]
Nunes, Devin [R-CA22]
Nunnelee, Alan [R-MS1]
Olson, Pete [R-TX22]
O’Rourke, Beto [D-TX16]
Owens, William [D-NY21]
Palazzo, Steven [R-MS4]
Pallone, Frank [D-NJ6]
Pascrell, Bill [D-NJ9]
Paulsen, Erik [R-MN3]
Payne, Donald [D-NJ10]
Pearce, Stevan “Steve” [R-NM2]
Perlmutter, Ed [D-CO7]
Peters, Gary [D-MI14]
Peters, Scott [D-CA52]
Peterson, Collin [D-MN7]
Pierluisi, Pedro [D-PR0]
Pingree, Chellie [D-ME1]
Pittenger, Robert [R-NC9]
Pocan, Mark [D-WI2]
Poe, Ted [R-TX2]
Polis, Jared [D-CO2]
Pompeo, Mike [R-KS4]
Posey, Bill [R-FL8]
Price, David [D-NC4]
Price, Tom [R-GA6]
Quigley, Mike [D-IL5]
Radel, Trey [R-FL19]
Rahall, Nick [D-WV3]
Rangel, Charles “Charlie” [D-NY13]
Reed, Tom [R-NY23]
Reichert, David [R-WA8]
Renacci, James [R-OH16]
Ribble, Reid [R-WI8]
Rice, Tom [R-SC7]
Richmond, Cedric [D-LA2]
Rigell, Edward “Scott” [R-VA2]
Roby, Martha [R-AL2]
Roe, David “Phil” [R-TN1]
Rogers, Harold “Hal” [R-KY5]
Rogers, Mike [R-AL3]
Rokita, Todd [R-IN4]
Rooney, Thomas [R-FL17]
Roskam, Peter [R-IL6]
Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana [R-FL27]
Ross, Dennis [R-FL15]
Rothfus, Keith [R-PA12]
Roybal-Allard, Lucille [D-CA40]
Royce, Edward “Ed” [R-CA39]
Ruiz, Raul [D-CA36]
Runyan, Jon [R-NJ3]
Ruppersberger, A. Dutch [D-MD2]
Rush, Bobby [D-IL1]
Ryan, Tim [D-OH13]
Sablan, Gregorio [D-MP0]
Salmon, Matt [R-AZ5]
Sánchez, Linda [D-CA38]
Sanchez, Loretta [D-CA46]
Sarbanes, John [D-MD3]
Scalise, Steve [R-LA1]
Schakowsky, Janice “Jan” [D-IL9]
Schiff, Adam [D-CA28]
Schneider, Bradley [D-IL10]
Schock, Aaron [R-IL18]
Schrader, Kurt [D-OR5]
Schwartz, Allyson [D-PA13]
Schweikert, David [R-AZ6]
Scott, Austin [R-GA8]
Scott, David [D-GA13]
Sensenbrenner, James [R-WI5]
Serrano, José [D-NY15]
Sessions, Pete [R-TX32]
Sewell, Terri [D-AL7]
Shea-Porter, Carol [D-NH1]
Shimkus, John [R-IL15]
Simpson, Michael “Mike” [R-ID2]
Sinema, Kyrsten [D-AZ9]
Sires, Albio [D-NJ8]
Slaughter, Louise [D-NY25]
Smith, Christopher “Chris” [R-NJ4]
Smith, Lamar [R-TX21]
Southerland, Steve [R-FL2]
Speier, Jackie [D-CA14]
Stivers, Steve [R-OH15]
Stockman, Steve [R-TX36]
Stutzman, Marlin [R-IN3]
Swalwell, Eric [D-CA15]
Takano, Mark [D-CA41]
Terry, Lee [R-NE2]
Thompson, Glenn [R-PA5]
Thompson, Mike [D-CA5]
Thornberry, Mac [R-TX13]
Tiberi, Patrick “Pat” [R-OH12]
Tierney, John [D-MA6]
Tipton, Scott [R-CO3]
Titus, Dina [D-NV1]
Tonko, Paul [D-NY20]
Tsongas, Niki [D-MA3]
Turner, Michael [R-OH10]
Upton, Fred [R-MI6]
Valadao, David [R-CA21]
Van Hollen, Chris [D-MD8]
Vargas, Juan [D-CA51]
Veasey, Marc [D-TX33]
Vela, Filemon [D-TX34]
Velázquez, Nydia [D-NY7]
Visclosky, Peter [D-IN1]
Wagner, Ann [R-MO2]
Walberg, Tim [R-MI7]
Walden, Greg [R-OR2]
Walorski, Jackie [R-IN2]
Walz, Timothy [D-MN1]
Wasserman Schultz, Debbie [D-FL23]
Waters, Maxine [D-CA43]
Webster, Daniel [R-FL10]
Welch, Peter [D-VT0]
Wenstrup, Brad [R-OH2]
Westmoreland, Lynn [R-GA3]
Whitfield, Ed [R-KY1]
Williams, Roger [R-TX25]
Wilson, Frederica [D-FL24]
Wilson, Joe [R-SC2]
Wittman, Robert [R-VA1]
Wolf, Frank [R-VA10]
Womack, Steve [R-AR3]
Yarmuth, John [D-KY3]
Yoder, Kevin [R-KS3]
Yoho, Ted [R-FL3]
Young, Don [R-AK0]
Young, Todd [R-IN9]
Young, W. Bill [R-FL13]

 

Senate
Ayotte, Kelly [R-NH]
Baldwin, Tammy [D-WI]
Begich, Mark [D-AK]
Bennet, Michael [D-CO]
Blumenthal, Richard [D-CT]
Blunt, Roy [R-MO]
Boozman, John [R-AR]
Boxer, Barbara [D-CA]
Brown, Sherrod [D-OH]
Burr, Richard [R-NC]
Cantwell, Maria [D-WA]
Cardin, Benjamin [D-MD]
Cochran, Thad [R-MS]
Collins, Susan [R-ME]
Coons, Chris [D-DE]
Donnelly, Joe [D-IN]
Durbin, Richard [D-IL]
Feinstein, Dianne [D-CA]
Franken, Alan “Al” [D-MN]
Gillibrand, Kirsten [D-NY]
Hagan, Kay [D-NC]
Harkin, Thomas “Tom” [D-IA]
Heller, Dean [R-NV]
Heitkamp, Heidi [D-ND]
Johanns, Mike [R-NE]
Johnson, Tim [D-SD]
King, Angus [I-ME]
Kirk, Mark [R-IL]
Klobuchar, Amy [D-MN]
Landrieu, Mary [D-LA]
Lautenberg, Frank [D-NJ]
Leahy, Patrick [D-VT]
Markey, Edward “Ed” [D-MA]
Merkley, Jeff [D-OR]
Mikulski, Barbara [D-MD]
Moran, Jerry [R-KS]
Murphy, Christopher [D-CT]
Pryor, Mark [D-AR]
Reed, John “Jack” [D-RI]
Roberts, Pat [R-KS]
Rockefeller, John “Jay” [D-WV]
Rubio, Marco [R-FL]
Sanders, Bernard “Bernie” [I-VT]
Schatz, Brian [D-HI]
Schumer, Charles “Chuck” [D-NY]
Stabenow, Debbie [D-MI]
Tester, Jon [D-MT]
Udall, Tom [D-NM]
Walsh, John [D-MT]
Warner, Mark [D-VA]
Warren, Elizabeth [D-MA]
Whitehouse, Sheldon [D-RI]
Wicker, Roger [R-MS]
Menéndez, Robert “Bob” [D-NJ]
Heinrich, Martin [D-NM]
Isakson, John “Johnny” [R-GA]
Nelson, Bill [D-FL]
Shaheen, Jeanne [D-NH]
Alexander, Lamar [R-TN]
Hirono, Mazie [D-HI]
Hoeven, John [R-ND]
Fischer, Deb [R-NE]
Hatch, Orrin [R-UT]
Enzi, Michael [R-WY]
Murkowski, Lisa [R-AK]
Vitter, David [R-LA]
Booker, Cory [D-NJ]
Kaine, Timothy [D-VA]
McConnell, Mitch [R-KY]
Reid, Harry [D-NV]
Inhofe, James “Jim” [R-OK]
Toomey, Patrick “Pat” [R-PA]
Udall, Mark [D-CO]
Scott, Tim [R-SC]
Lee, Mike [R-UT]
Portman, Robert “Rob” [R-OH]
Grassley, Charles “Chuck” [R-IA]
Thune, John [R-SD]