Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Casey’s ABLE Act Becomes Law with President Obama’s Signature

Press Release - U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA)
Friday, December 19, 2014

ABLE Easily Passed the Senate 76-16 / Bill Previously Passed the House with 404-17 Margin / ABLE Has Been Called “…the broadest legislation to help [people with disabilities] in nearly a quarter-century.”

Washington, DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that his Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act was signed into law this afternoon by President Obama. The bill will allow families who have a child with a disability to save for their long-term care through 529-style savings accounts. The ABLE Act passed the Senate on Tuesday with a final vote of 76-16, and it passed the House last week with a final vote of 404-17. This legislation has been called “…the broadest legislation to help [people with disabilities] in nearly a quarter-century.”

Below is a statement from Senator Casey:

“Eight years ago, a group of parents came to Congress, asking for help with a pressing issue—adequately saving for their children’s future. These parents, including a gentleman named Steve Beck, knew firsthand the challenges many families face when a loved one has a disability. Faced with a lifetime of extraordinary expenses, parents are told not to save or put assets in their child’s name. Thanks to Steve and countless other concerned parents, we stand ready to forever change this dynamic.

The ABLE Act has been a collaborative effort. The bill was first introduced by Senators Hatch and Dodd in 2008, under the name of the Disabilities Savings Act. In each session since, Senator Burr and I have introduced the bill under the name of the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act. Today, we are proud to say that we will pass the ABLE Act with the support of over 480 members of Congress.

Beyond this lengthy legislative history, the story of the ABLE Act is also the story of individuals like Sara Wolff, a fellow Pennsylvanian who has been one of the bill’s most vocal advocates.

Several years ago, Sara was an intern in my Scranton office. Today, Sarah is 31 years old and has two jobs – she works at Keystone Resources in the Office of Advocacy and is also a Law Clerk at a firm in my hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania. She also serves on the board of several organizations including the National Down Syndrome Society.

Sara happens to have Down syndrome. She a productive member of society and has goals and ambitions just like any other hard-working American. But a set of unfair rules has held Sara back by making it difficult for her to save money. In order to avoid being cut off from critical benefits, Sara has had to carefully avoid amassing more than two thousand dollars in assets and has made arrangements with her employers to keep her monthly pay below seven hundred dollars a month.

For years, this disincentive to save has stood in the way of Sara’s efforts to plan for future costs, her desire to live a fuller and more productive life, and her wish to pursue her own dreams and aspirations.

Read complete article HERE.
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