Wednesday, December 3, 2014

HOUSE SET TO VOTE ON APPROVAL OF ABLE ACT

Drew Thies

The House will vote tonight for passage of the bipartisan Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act (bill text, summary), legislation that focuses on easing the financial burden of those living with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

The ABLE Act would help more individuals with disabilities work, save and live independently without losing access to Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). States would have the option to establish an ABLE program, under which eligible individuals with disabilities could start an ABLE account, modeled after current Section 529 savings accounts. Eligible individuals must be severely disabled before turning age 26.

AHCA advocates took to the Hill this past March during AHCA’s annual ID/DD conference in D.C. to stress the importance of the ABLE Act to members of congress. 85 percent of Congress supports the bill--380 House cosponsors and 74 Senate cosponsors--including leadership in both parties.

A vote in the Senate during the lame duck session may be scheduled if the House approves the legislation, which they are expected to do by a wide margin.

The bipartisan effort to pass the ABLE Act has been overshadowed by larger fights in the Lame Duck session over how to respond to President Obama’s recent executive action on immigration and tax break extensions that have proved controversial. AHCA will continue to monitor and respond to legislation in the expected final two weeks of this Congressional session.

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