Update on ABLE – Two questions.

ABLE is likely to become law in the next few weeks, offering new tax-free savings accounts for people with disabilities. 

It reads:

The proposal’s cost has been scaled back from an estimated $20 billion
over 10 years. Clarifying that someone must be diagnosed with the
disability by age 26 to qualify, and limiting annual contributions to
$14,000, trimmed that cost to $2 billion over a decade.

The question I am trying to get answered (and have some hope of getting answered) is this:

1. The bill just “allows” states to set up ABLE Accounts? Will we then have to lobby each state to do it, or is it simple enough that this shouldn’t be an obstacle.

I expect to have this question answered by the end of today.

2.  Why does someone who has a traumatic brain injury at age 25 get access to ABLE and not someone who gets the same injury at age 27?

I get it that it will make the program more expensive. But if ABLE is good policy, then it’s good policy. We have to fight these disability hierarchies that will help my son and those like him, but leave so many other people stranded.

UPDATE: And answers

1. A spokesperson for a congressional rep said that it should be fairly simple to get the 529 accounts set up, as states already run the other 529s. But let me know if your state doesn’t carry through.

2. It’s just money. Too many reps in the House (I am assuming GOP but my source avoided partisanship) wouldn’t vote for it  unless it was cheaper, so they came up with the age 26 based on the ACA use of age 26 as a way to make it cheap enough to pass.

So Congress is doing a good thing, it’s not a big thing, it’s going to be nice for wealthier families with kids with disabilities. Poor people won’t be helped, as they don’t have the money to save. People who become disabled later in life won’t be helped. Still, a small good thing is, I guess, good.

Forbes questions how good and notes that special needs trusts do a lot of this work already. ABLE is better though. At any rate, they are voting more or less now, as I write. 

ABLE has led me to create a new mantra – Fight disability hierarchies. And so I shall.

2 Replies to “Update on ABLE – Two questions.”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I agree that we need to look at who our advocacy does and does not help. That being said, I think shaming parents who chose to remain silent, may be a bit hypocritical. It's not just those who don't qualify based on age of onset. ABLE is great for those who can afford to save their own money. Unfortunately,most adults with disabilities do not have those resources to begin with.

    All too often advocacy seems to be aimed at those with some kind of privilege.


    I'll never understand how people pick and choose what kind of efforts to support.


    Just my perspective… hope you get some answers to your questions.

  2. David Perry says:

    1. You are ABSOLUTELY right that this is a bill which will mostly help people of means. It's a real problem.

    2. I am ashamed of the way that too many parents in the Down syndrome community seem perfectly willing to reinforce disability hierarchies in order to do better for their children. I understand it, but it's shameful.

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