A few years ago I blogged about the Achieving A Better Life Experience Act.
Then earlier this year came the plea once again to contact representatives asking them to pass this bill as it was introduced to Congress again. This has bee several years in the making as it was first introduced to Congress in 2009.
After a lot of hard word and advocacy by many, many people and organizations ... finally near the end of Dec the Act passed in the House and Senate and was signed into law by the President!
This is a major, groundbreaking law that will positively affect the lives of people with disabilities.
Previously people with disabilities could not have any type of savings account with any significant amount of money. Nothing could be left in their name. If a person with disabilities has over $2000 in assets they will lose needed government benefits. It was a catch-22. Try to find employment to be self-sufficient and independent, but scrutinize your income to make sure you don't go over that $2000 limit at any one time.
Relatives could not leave anything in the name of the person with disabilities.
The only option parents had for saving for the future of their child with a disability was a Special Needs Trust. Even that has some limits as we found out with Joe's retirement. Upon retirement Joe can elect to contribute to a Survivor's Benefit Plan whereupon his death money could be left to the spouse and/or children. But money from a SBP can not go to a Special Needs Trust. So that's basically like telling Kayla she/her name is left out of pretty much everything.
But now with the ABLE Act this will allow the ability to save through a 529-type savings account and most importantly without affect government benefits.
The National Down Syndrome Congress has put together a FAQ with more information about the ABLE Act and what it means and how it can benefit people with disabilities.
I'm so glad that we now have another valid option of a savings account for Kayla ... now just to figure out all the ins and outs of being able to use this type of account!