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Bill would create tax-exempt accounts for disability-related expenses

November 23rd, 2012 5:04 pm by staff report

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Retiring U.S. Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., has co-sponsored a bill to help people with disabilities to more easily save for necessary expenses related to their disabilities.

The bipartisan Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act essentially creates tax-exempt accounts to allow families and individuals to set aside funds for disability-related expenses, including medical care, housing, education and employment training. The accounts will function in a manner similar to the 529 education savings plan accounts that allow families to save for future college expenses.

“Those with disabilities shouldn’t have to choose between safeguarding their eligibility for long term services and saving for their future,” said Webb, who has also supported initiatives to increase federal assistance for children with disabilities.

“The ABLE Act is one step toward ensuring their families have the opportunity to save for disability-related expenses without incurring harmful financial setbacks.”

Currently, individuals with disabilities face a number of barriers to saving, Webb said, including asset limits imposed by federal programs like Medicaid and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.

Webb said those limits may discourage beneficiaries with disabilities from saving in order to maintain eligibility for those programs. The ABLE Act creates an option to save for long term expenses in a tax exempt account that would not count toward such asset limits.

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