ABLE Act Amended in House; PAN Withdraws Support

On July 29, 2014, the House Ways and Means Committee held a markup of the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act (H.R. 647) to help advance the legislation for a possible vote in September.

As initially drafted, the ABLE Act would have applied to all Americans with certified disabilities, including people with Parkinson’s. However, in a cost-cutting decision, the Committee adopted an amendment package that limits eligibility for ABLE accounts to only those persons who have a confirmed disability prior to age 26. This means that if passed as amended, many people with Parkinson’s and other chronic conditions would no longer qualify.

The ABLE Act would amend section 529 of the federal tax code to create tax-free savings accounts for people with disabilities. ABLE accounts would act much like the 529 accounts that individuals currently use to save for college expenses – but instead allow people with certified disabilities to save for present and future expenses like transportation costs, housing and home improvements, health, and wellness.

PAN sent a letter to the lead bill sponsor in the House, Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), expressing our disappointment and formally withdrawing our support for the legislation. The current budget environment makes it highly unlikely that Congress will consider making additional changes to the bill that increase its cost, including raising the age of eligibility.

It is unclear at this time if the Senate version of the ABLE Act (S. 313) will also adopt the House modifications. PAN staff is following up with the office of lead Senate sponsor, Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA), to determine if and when any changes will be made.

If you have any questions on the ABLE Act, contact Jamie Tucker, senior government relations manager, at [email protected].

Date originally posted: August 14, 2014.