National Disability Institute Champions Reintroduction of ABLE Act in Congress as Vital Step Toward Economic Advancement for People With Disabilities

WASHINGTON, Feb. 21, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The U.S. Congress helped advance economic stability for Americans with disabilities last week by reintroducing the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, legislation long championed by National Disability Institute as a key to economic advancement for people with disabilities and their families.

Amid strong bipartisan support from more than 70 original cosponsors, Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL) in the U.S. House of Representatives and Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA) in the U.S. Senate reintroduced the legislation (as H.R. 647 and S. 313) that would amend Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Service Code of 1986, allowing individuals with disabilities and their families to set funds aside in tax-free savings accounts to be withdrawn for qualified costs for education, housing, transportation, technology assistance, and employment without adversely impacting means-tested Medicaid and Social Security benefits. The funds will supplement but not replace benefits provided through Medicaid, Social Security and private insurance, allowing adults with disabilities or families with sons or daughters with significant disabilities a means to help cover additional costs associated with daily activities and community participation.

"The ABLE Act and ABLE accounts are crucial components to advancing economic stability and self-sufficiency for the nearly 1 in 3 people with disabilities living in poverty and their families," said Michael Morris, executive director of National Disability Institute. "Much like a 529 plan helps students and families provide for the high costs of college education, the ABLE Act will help individuals with disabilities and their families cover essential costs and take steps toward greater financial stability and their American dreams."

"The time has come for this important legislation to be passed to provide a pathway to a better economic future for millions of Americans with disabilities and their families," Morris added.

National Disability Institute joins several other disability organizations in supporting the reintroduction of the ABLE Act, including the National Down Syndrome Society, The ARC and Autism Speaks.

In 2012, the ABLE Act received widespread bipartisan support – its highest levels ever – with more than 270 cosponsors from the 112th Congress signing on to the bills in both the House and Senate. Despite the extensive support, the ABLE Act was not included in the final fiscal cliff deal passed on Jan. 1, 2013, as that legislation only addressed existing tax provisions and spending sequester cuts.

As the first national organization committed exclusively to championing economic advancement, financial education, asset development and financial stability for all persons with disabilities, National Disability Institute supports the passage of the ABLE Act and continues to promote public policy changes that encourage work, saving, and asset development for people with disabilities and that reduce dependence on public benefits.

About National Disability Institute

National Disability Institute (NDI) is national non-profit organization dedicated to building a better economic future for people with disabilities. The first national organization committed exclusively to championing economic empowerment, financial education, asset development and financial stability for all persons with disabilities, National Disability Institute effects change through public education, policy development, training, technical assistance and innovative initiatives. Since 2005, National Disability Institute and its Real Economic Impact (REI) Network of more than 900 partners in more than 100 cities nationwide have helped 1.5 million people with disabilities receive more than $1.4 billion in tax refunds. To learn more, visit www.realeconomicimpact.org

Contact:

Lisa Karp

National Disability Institute

lkarp@ndi-inc.org

(202) 695-2180

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Source:National Disability Institute