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U.S. lawmakers introduce ABLE Act for children with disabilities

As the members of Congress prepare to go on their holiday break, there is one piece of legislation that parents of children with disabilities are hoping the lawmakers will place at the top of their to-do list. Recently, a group of Senators and Representatives introduced the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, which would help parents save money for their disabled children's long-term health care, housing and educational needs.

The ABLE Act would allow parents of disabled children would be able to place tax-free dollars into savings accounts to pay for their children's future needs. Currently, children who have more than $2,000 in assets run the risk of losing their Social Security Disability, health care and other federal benefits. Under the ABLE Act, that would no longer be the case.

Specifically, the Act would allow disabled children to create tax-free accounts that are similar to the current 529 education savings accounts. Then, their families could place money into the account to pay for medical and dental care, transportation, housing, education, and other expenses. Anyone could put money into the account, and children would be allowed to make tax-free withdrawals from the account to pay for disability expenses.

It seems that the ABLE Act would be a valuable tool for parents who are living day-to-day, unsure of how they are going to pay for their child's future medical and living expenses. It costs, on average, more than $1 million to raise a child with a significant medical disability. This law would give parents one more option to secure their child's - and their own - future.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Peace of Mind for Parents of Children With Disabilities," Sen. Bob Casey, Dec. 16, 2011

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