Apr. 13th, 2017

hollymath: (Default)
I never had to navigate the American system as a disbled adult so I don't know all the details. So I'm glad [personal profile] forests_of_fire is happy for me to copy what they wrote and share it here.


I don't often make pleas to contact your Congresscritters (mainly because there is SO MUCH to contact them about x.x), but something is currently in the House and Senate that can make a huge difference in the life of disabled people.

U.S. Congress is weighing the idea of expanding the ABLE Act.

The ABLE Act set up a system that (currently) allows people who became disabled before the age of 26 to save money in special ABLE accounts. One of the bills currently under consideration will raise that age to 46. Honestly, this is the thing I'm most excited about because it means that more people will have access to ABLE accounts and I am all for that.

But this is how the ABLE account impacts a disabled person's life. They can have up to $100,000 in an ABLE account without it impacting their benefits, though they're only allowed to put $14,000 a year into your account. Once someone hits $100,000, the money will count against them. (Obviously, that's going to take a while, since you can only put in $14,000 a year.) The absolute upper limit for an ABLE account is $426,000, which would take quite a while to save up.

The money in an ABLE account is tax-free, as long as it's used for things that help a disabled person take care of their needs, remain independent, or better their life. This means the money can be used for anything from medical bills to housing to education to transportation. If they work, they can put their net wages directly into their account or they can put money in from other sources, like financial birthday gifts.

This is AMAZEBALLS for people who are disabled. One of the main problems with being disabled is that it's impossible to save money because the threshold for getting your benefits dinged is so low. Often, even working ends up coming out as a net loss, financially. Even if you don't have tons of money to sock away, being able to save money for future expenses without having to worry about your benefits is incredibly helpful. And, even if your state doesn't have its own ABLE account set up, you can apply for an ABLE account through another state. You pay a lot more in fees, but it might be worth it just to be able to put money away for future expenses.

These aren't straight savings accounts -- they're investment accounts. But you can use the BankSafe option, which means that all your investment is insured by the FDIC. That's what I use because I can't really afford to lose money. There is a small fee ($2.50/mo. here in Ohio if you live in-state) for managing the money and there's an annual fee. But it's a hell of a lot better than what we can have.

So, yes. If you're so inclined, please contact your Congresscritters and let them know you support the expansion of the ABLE Act. Also, please feel free to copypasta this to get the word out.

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