Sent from my iPad
Begin forwarded message:
From: CTD Messenger <info@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: December 9, 2015 at 11:49:56 AM CST
Subject: Our Issues: ABLE update
December 9, 2015
The Texas ABLE Act: What's new, what's ahead
As 2015 winds down, we wanted to check in with one of our most significant
legislative wins this session- the Texas ABLE Act. Our advocacy team and
members pushed hard for this bill, which will provide for the creation of
tax-advantaged hybrid savings accounts for Texans with disabilities. Now that
Texas ABLE has been enacted, what are the next steps?
About the Texas ABLE program
The Texas Achieving a Better Life Experience (Texas ABLE) program is a
tax-advantaged hybrid savings account for Texans with disabilities. For the
first time in history, Texans with disabilities can save money (in their own
name) to pay for a variety of disability expenses without the fear of
exceeding the Medicaid individual resource limit of $2,000.
Texas ABLE accounts can help individuals lead more independent, self-directed
lives and allow family members to help save for their loved-ones' futures.
Any individual who has a significant disability that was diagnosed before the
age of 26, regardless of their current age, qualifies for an account.
Currently a person with a disability can only have a maximum cash savings of
$2,000 (individual resource limit) before they lose their Medicaid coverage.
That's where Texas ABLE can provide the most benefit. In fact, a person can
save as much as $100,000 in a Texas ABLE account (and have $2,000 in other
cash assets) before their Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments are
suspended while retaining their Medicaid coverage. And, Texas law allows for
a maximum amount of $370,000 in an individual ABLE account.
It is important to note that not every person with a disability needs a Texas
ABLE account. Other useful estate planning tools exist that may better suit
your personal needs. As regulations become clearer and implementation gets
underway, families and estate planners will be better able to weigh which
savings method would be best for each individual.
Learn more about the rules of Texas ABLE accounts at our ABLE Act page or at
Why the asset cap matters
Consider the following scenario: Ryan, a person with a disability, receives
$733.00 each month as a direct deposit into his checking account from Social
Security. It's not a lot (< $9,000/year), but with that money, Ryan pays rent
for his room at his parent's house and can go out regularly with his friends.
Ryan also works two days a week to have a little extra spending cash.
Ryan's mother keeps a close eye on his account balance to make sure it
doesn't exceed the asset cap. But one month, there were five working weeks
(instead of the typical four), and for just a few days, Ryan's account had
exceeded the $2,000 limit by $40.00. Ryan's penalty for going over the limit
is to pay that month's entire disbursement ($733.00) back to the SSI
administration in monthly installments of $20.00, thereby decreasing his SSI
income to $713.00 per month for the next three years!
If Ryan had a Texas ABLE account, he could have deposited his paycheck there,
kept his bank account balance under $2,000, and avoided a years-long penalty.
In fact, Ryan could work more than just a few hours each month and could
actually save some of his hard earned pay.
CTD played an important role in passing legislation to enable this federal
program, but we couldn't have done that without the help of supporters and
advocates every step of the way. Now, we're excited to be involved in the
development of the Texas ABLE program in an advisory capacity. Our staff has
been appointed to the Texas ABLE advisory committee to ensure that the voices
of Texans with disabilities are heard and continue to guide and support this
program into implementation.
You can help shape Texas ABLE, too! Take the Texas ABLE Survey to give your
input to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts’ Office as they design the
Texas ABLE Program. The survey closes December 15; take it today!
For those interested in starting a Texas ABLE account: Be advised that the
program is NOT currently accepting applications. And all accounts will be
setup through the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts - ONLY!
The program is still in the early implementation stage. This is a new concept
with a series of challenges. Implementation must be cautiously and
purposefully planned to best serve Texans. The Texas Comptroller's office has
its hands full, but we all hope that qualified Texans with disabilities will
be able to use the program by mid 2016.
What else is happening at CTD?
Annual Report Lite
Review this year's work in our 2015 Annual Report Lite, which hits the
highlights from the Legislature, our big annual events, and more in 3 short
Planning your end-of-year giving?
Your contribution is your personal commitment to our cause and work. Large or
small, every dollar counts at CTD!
Friday, December 11:
The Lion & The Pirate Unplugged
Join CTD and VSA Texas for our last open mic of the year!
More details + RSVP.
Coalition of Texans with Disabilities
316 W. 12th St., Ste. 405
Austin, Texas 78701
Tel: (512) 478-3366
Fax: (512) 478-3370
The Coalition of Texans with Disabilities (CTD) is Texas’ oldest and largest
cross-disability advocacy organization. CTD is a 501(c)3 nonprofit
organization with Federal Tax ID #74-2071160. Contributions are tax
deductible to the full extent of the law.
Rather not hear from us? Click here to unsubscribe.