[tabi] Ander Crenshaw: ABLE accounts would help disabled

  • From: "Chip Orange" <Corange@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 16 Jul 2010 12:18:27 -0400

From yesterday's Democrat:

Ander Crenshaw: ABLE accounts would help disabled

Equality. Americans have strived to open the door to its strength across
of our nation's history. And no population may understand the dedication
and footwork
needed to realize a level playing field for its players more than the
Great strides have been made to ensure that fewer of the disabled fall
through society's
cracks. But there is ample ground to cover before they have the same
as other Americans. A good place to continue that fight is in the area
of financial
Today, the federal government encourages Americans to save for future
needs through
a variety of tax-advantaged savings accounts: individual retirement
accounts, education
savings accounts (529s), medical savings accounts, and employer savings
such as the 401(k). With the right tools in place, life's horizon can be
Without them, dreams can pass by in the blink of an eye.
That's why I am so encouraged by the growing number of supporters behind
my Achieving
a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE) to create tax-deferred savings
accounts for the
disabled. To date, 184 House members and 22 U.S. senators are
co-sponsors of this
legislation. Special Olympics, the National Down Syndrome Society,
Autism Speaks
and the National Fragile X Foundation are among a long list of
organizations also
supporting the bill. All understand the need to crack open a wider door
to equality
for the disabled.
The average cost of raising a child with a significant medical
disability is more
than $1 million over the course of the child's lifetime. Continuing
education, transportation,
housing and medical care make up some of the predictable costs on that
ABLE accounts would relieve some of that burden, by allowing parents
with disabled
children or family members of disabled individuals to invest through a
savings account that could be drawn from for these future expenses. No
longer would
they have to stand aside and watch as others use IRS-sanctioned tools
such as 529
education savings accounts to lay the groundwork for a brighter future.
They would
be able to do so for their children as well.
Creating an ABLE account would be as simple as opening an account at the
local back.
Anyone currently receiving supplemental security income (SSI) benefits
would be eligible,
and qualified expenses include educational and transportation expenses,
medical and
dental care, and employment and training support.
Anyone could contribute to an ABLE account, and rollovers would be
allowed without
penalty; however contributions to these accounts would be capped at
$500,000. Under
the proposal, the principle in the account would accrue interest
tax-free during
the life of the beneficiary. When distributions are made to the
beneficiary for qualified
expenses, the distributions are excluded from the gross income of the
In real-life terms, that means young Sydney Leach, who was born with
Down syndrome
in Jacksonville and is now finishing first grade, can plan for her
future. A bright
student who can read, write and perform simple arithmetic, she hopes to
gain a post-secondary
education. Eventually, Sydney will work and earn a salary just as
millions of other
Americans do. Under current law, however, she cannot keep more than
$2,000 in assets
(whether earned or through gifts) or she will lose her benefits, such as
and Social Security Disability Insurance. With an ABLE account, that
roadblock would
be lifted enabling her to save and use her earnings to cover qualified
The cost to reform the U.S. Tax Code to offer ABLE accounts would be
minimal, but
the positive impact for Sydney Leach, her family and others who are
struggling to
cope with an uncertain future would be sizeable.
They and all the disabled deserve that opportunity. A change in the Tax
Code so they
can Achieve a Better Life Experience is a step forward toward equality
with every
other American - a step worth taking.

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  • » [tabi] Ander Crenshaw: ABLE accounts would help disabled - Chip Orange