The leading voice for excellence in public finance

Advocacy

Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE)

Empowering people with disabilities and their families to save for the future, while protecting eligibility for public benefits

The Stephen Beck, Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE Act) became law on December 19, 2014. The ABLE Act creates a new option for some people with disabilities and their families to save for the future, while protecting eligibility for public benefits.

ABLE plans can change the way individuals with disabilities and their families participate in the community, build financial wellness and plan for the future by empowering them to save and invest for the added expenses that come with having a disability without losing access to federal means-tested benefits.

ABLE accounts foster person-centered independence, build self-reliance, encourage employment and improve quality of life. Contributions to ABLE accounts can come from earnings, family, friends and other sources. Earnings on ABLE accounts are tax-deferred, and withdrawals are tax-free as long as they are used for qualified disability-related expenses.

0
States and D.C. have launched ABLE programs
0
ABLE accounts opened nationwide
$ 0
Average savings in ABLE accounts
$ 0 M
Invested in ABLE accounts nationally

Data provided courtesy of ISS Market Intelligence as of December 31, 2019

Key Legislation

ABLE Age Adjustment Act (S. 651 and H.R. 1814)​

Overview

The United States Congress introduced the ABLE Age Adjustment Act (S. 651 and H.R. 1814) in early 2019. Once passed, this legislation will amend the Internal Revenue Code with respect to qualified ABLE programs by increasing the age of eligibility of beneficiaries of ABLE accounts from the onset of disability before age 26 to onset before age 46. Currently, only individuals who have a qualifying disability prior to age 26 are eligible to open an account in an Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) plan. NAST and its members support this change to the Stephen Beck, Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. To assist State Treasurers, ABLE program administrators, and other stakeholders in advocating for this change, NAST has created this “toolkit” for advocacy outreach to Members of Congress and the media.

Why it's important

Signed into law in 2014, the ABLE Act amends the Internal Revenue Code to include tax-exempt ABLE accounts for individuals with disabilities. On the 5th anniversary of passage, NAST supports the ABLE Age Adjustment Act to expand benefits by increasing the age-of-onset to 46 years of age. State treasurers and program administrators are working diligently to ensure that this new program benefits the disabled community in the manner intended. To assist, NAST is providing an Advocacy and Outreach Toolkit to reach out to Congress and the media.

How you can help

As the State Treasurer, program administrator, or other interested advocate, NAST encourages you to contact your entire Congressional delegation asking them to support the bill. (Please thank the member if they are already supporting it.)  To assist, we have assembled a toolkit of information resources for the ABLE Age Adjustment Act.

“Having an ABLE account now means financial security. I just put a down payment on an accessible vehicle with the money I saved in my ABLE account. I don’t know what I would do without ABLE.”

— Wendy Settles, Illinois, Young adult professional with Cerebral Palsy

ABLE Resolutions Adopted by NAST

Supporting Enhancements to the Stephen Beck Jr., Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act (I.R.C. §529A)
A Resolution Describing Proposed Legislative and Regulatory Enhancements to ABLE Plans
February 5, 2018

Resources

Federal Regulation of ABLE Programs
IRS Notice of Proposed Rulemaking:  Contribution Limits Applicable to ABLE Accounts – October 10, 2019
US Department of Housing & Urban Development Guidance on the Treatment of ABLE Accounts in HUD-Assisted Programs – April 26, 2019
Internal Revenue Service Release 2018-139 – Guidance on ABLE Accounts and the Saver’s Tax Credit – June 15, 2018
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Guidance: Implications of the ABLE Act for State Medicaid Programs – September 7, 2017
US Department of Agriculture Guidance: Treatment of ABLE accounts in Determining SNAP Eligibility – April 4, 2016
Guidance Under Section 529A: Qualified ABLE Programs – A Proposed Rule by the Internal Revenue Service – June 6, 2015
Social Security Adminstration Program Operations Manual System (POMS) regarding ABLE Accounts
 
NAST ABLE Committee
ABLE and the Saver’s Credit Press Release 2.26.20
ABLE Committee Leadership
ABLE Committee Report – STATE ABLE PROGRAMS: PROGRESS AND LEGISLATIVE NEEDS – July 1, 2019
ABLE Committee Letter to the IRS regarding adding Social Security Representative Payees (“Representative Payee”) to the list of those who can establish and administer an ABLE account – May 29, 2019
NAST ABLE One Pager
State ABLE Administrator Contact Information March 2, 2020
ABLE Frequently Asked Questions
NAST ABLE Committee Letter to United States Senate – November 18, 2019
 
ABLE In The News

ABLE assists disbabled: New state program helps residents without risking federal benefits – March 13, 2020

IAble wants more – Editorial celebrating 3rd Anniversary of IAble – February 27, 2020

Everything You Need to Know About ABLE Accounts – February 19, 2020

Celebrating and expanding upon five years of the ABLE  Act – February 9, 2020

How to build support system for adult children with disabilities – January 9, 2020

ABLE accounts let the disabled plan, dream and save big—without risking essential federal benefits – January 7, 2020

People with disabilities can now set some financial goals thanks to this game-changer – December 15, 2019

529 ABLE Accounts: Helping End Forced Poverty For Disabled Individuals – November 12, 2019

How to Plan for Retirement and Special-Needs Care – October 19, 2019

Recent Changes to ABLE Accounts and Why Your Client Might Want One – September 23, 2019

Top Ways to Plan for Your Special Needs Child’s Future – August 2019

There’s a game-changing way for people with disabilities to save – August 24, 2019

Treasurer Davis Celebrates One Year Anniversary of Delaware ABLE Plan, Releases Video – June 25, 2019

Expanding the ABLE Act will help those who need it most – March 29, 2019

It’s Disability Employment Awareness Month: ABLE to Work helps Americans with disabilities – October 25, 2018

Sen. Burr and Sen. Casey ABLE Op-Ed – August 11, 2018