WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 4, 2017)— Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), along with Congressmen Pete Sessions (R-TX), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Chris Smith (R-NJ), and Jim Langevin (D-RI) today introduced a package of bills to enhance the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014. The package includes the ABLE to Work Act, the ABLE Financial Planning Act, and the ABLE Age Adjustment Act.
“A job is so much more than a paycheck. It’s what gives you purpose and dignity. It’s the opportunity for a better life, and that’s what we’re doing with ABLE 2.0, specifically the ABLE to Work Act,” said McMorris Rodgers, the bill’s lead. “Too often, people with disabilities live in poverty because the current system forces them to make a choice between disability benefits and work. This legislation empowers people with disabilities to save the money they earn from work while remaining eligible for the critical disability safety net. At the end of the day, this is about empowering people with disabilities, like my son Cole, to live their fullest, independent life.”
“As the proud father of the Down syndrome young man I worked tirelessly with my colleagues to get this critical piece of legislation signed into law,” said Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX). “While this law was a monumental step for individuals with disabilities, today’s package will strengthen the existing law to ensure individuals with disabilities, like my son, Alex, have the opportunities they need to break through the glass ceiling and achieve a bigger, brighter future.”
“ABLE accounts already help thousands of Americans with disabilities live a fuller life,” said Congressman Tony Cárdenas (D-CA). “This legislation builds on that progress and eases the financial burden that many of these families face. ABLE 2.0 expands opportunities for families to save for the future and support their children’s dreams. I’m proud to help introduce this bipartisan legislation.”
“As the founder and co-chair of the Coalition for Autism Research and Education, I understand the financial demands of raising a child with support needs,” said Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ). “Education, housing, transportation, employment support, medical care and other life expenses can quickly add up for persons with disabilities. I urge quick passage of this legislation.”
“The ABLE Act has promoted greater financial independence by protecting people with disabilities from losing the very services and supports they rely on to live productive and fulfilling lives in their communities,” said Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing these bills to strengthen the current law and enable people with disabilities to find employment, save their hard-earned money, and achieve higher levels of financial empowerment.”
NOTE: The ABLE 2.0 package includes three bills. The ABLE to Work Act allows individuals and families to save more money — up to the federal poverty level — in their accounts if the beneficiary works and earns income. The ABLE Financial Planning Act allows families to roll over savings in a 529 college savings plan into an ABLE account and prevents these funds from being trapped or fined if a child is born with a disability or acquires one later in life. The ABLE Age Adjustment Act raises the age limit for ABLE accounts from 26 to 46, helping people whose disability or disease develops later in life.
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