Op-Ed: ABLE Accounts Give People With Disabilities The Chance To Save

by Treasurer Stacy Garrity and Senator Lisa Baker

People with disabilities often face enormous challenges. One is finding the right balance between paying for daily needs and saving for larger expenses while not saving so much that they become ineligible for essential benefits.

The Federal Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014 and the Pennsylvania ABLE Act of 2016 make it much easier for people with disabilities and their families to save for the future.

Opening an ABLE PA account, managed by the Pennsylvania Department of the Treasury, can offer significant tax benefits and allow people to save money without affecting eligibility for federal benefits with certain asset limits for those who receive additional security income benefits. ABLE Accounts can be used for large or small expenses – many people have used their ABLE savings to pay for assistive technology, accessible vehicles, and accessibility upgrades in their homes.

PA ABLE was launched in early 2017. Since then, disabled Pennsylvanians and their families have saved around $ 60 million.

August is the ABLE save month, and we encourage eligible people – anyone with a qualifying disability that occurred before their 26th birthday – to open an ABLE PA account and start saving while enjoying tax benefits. .

PA ABLE account holders can choose from a variety of savings options, including an interest-bearing checking account with a debit card. Account holders can also benefit from generous tax treatment. For example, there is no federal or state income tax on the growth of your savings, and there is no tax payable when you withdraw money for qualifying expenses.

Pennsylvania residents using an ABLE PA account also receive a state income tax deduction on contributions up to $ 15,000 per year – and the assets in the account are exempt from income tax. state estates.

This year we celebrated a number of milestones. In February, the Treasury reduced PA ABLE’s fees. In April, we announced that ABLE PA account owners had saved over $ 50 million on nearly 5,000 accounts. And now we’re approaching the $ 60 million threshold.

Many people are happy with the flexibility and security that PA ABLE offers today. But the program could be even better.

A bipartisan bill is pending in the US Senate to increase the age limit for onset of disability from 26 to 46. Senator Bob Casey Jr. introduced the legislation, which is co-sponsored by Senator Pat Toomey and a group of bipartisan senators from around the world. nation.

Raising the ABLE age limit would help millions of Americans – including an estimated 1 million veterans, heroes wounded defending our country and protecting our freedoms – heroes who deserve the opportunity to save with ABLE accounts.

If you have friends or family with disabilities, make sure they know about PA ABLE. And if you are in favor of more people with disabilities becoming eligible, including the men and women serving in our military, please contact your Senators and Representatives in Washington, DC, to let them know that you want the ABLE Age Adjustment Act becomes law. .

With more voices supporting PA ABLE and the ABLE Age Adjustment Act, we will continue to have a positive impact on family members, friends and neighbors with disabilities.

To learn more about PA ABLE, visit paable.gov or call 855-529-ABLE (2253).

Stacy Garrity, a retired U.S. Army Reserve Colonel and Businesswoman, is the State Treasurer of Pennsylvania. Lisa Baker, author of the Pennsylvania ABLE Act of 2016 and chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, represents the 20th District of Pennsylvania, including a significant portion of the counties of Luzerne and Susquehanna and all of the counties of Pike, Wayne and Wyoming.

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About Kristina McManus

Kristina McManus

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