Institute Hosts Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. Press Conference on ABLE Act
Senator Casey at Temple University
UPDATE: The Casey-Burr ABLE Act passed the Senate on December 16 and now heads to the office of the President to become law.
The Institute on Disabilities at Temple University, Pennsylvania's University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities hosted a press conference for Robert P. Casey, Jr., U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, on the university's main campus on Friday, December 5. The senator addressed the Achieving a Better Life Experience ("ABLE") Act, which passed in the U.S. House of Representatives two days earlier.
The bill (expected to reach the Senate during the week of December 15) would allow people with disabilities to create ABLE accounts at any financial institution where they could deposit up to $14,000 annually under current gift-tax limitations.
As much as $100,000 could be saved in the proposed accounts without risking eligibility for Social Security and other government benefits. Moreover, individuals could retain Medicaid coverage no matter how much money is deposited. Modeled after the popular 529 college savings plans, interest earned on savings within the accounts would be tax-free. Money saved could be used to pay for education, health care, transportation, housing and other expenses.
The Senator was introduced by Amy Goldman and Celia Feinstein, Co-Executive Directors of the Institute and was welcomed by Ken Lawrence, Temple University's Sr. Vice President for Government, Community and Public Affairs. Local policy makers, staff of Pennsylvania's LEND Program at Children's Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and staff members of Vision For Equality, also greeted the Senator. Joining the Senator on the podium was Tanya Regli, Executive Director, The Arc of Philadelphia; Sara Wolff, Advocate, National Down Syndrome Society; Cecelia Lee, parent of a child with a disability; and Shawn Aleong, advocate and graduate of the Institute's Academy for Adult Learning program. In addition to members of the press, the audience included individuals with disabilities, policy makers, service providers and other interested members of the community. Each speaker said a few words on how the passing of the ABLE Act will have an impact on their own lives as well as the lives of all people with disabilities.