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New Bill Would Help People With Disabilities Live Independently

Office of Senator Bob Casey

For people living with disabilities, life is filled with difficulties both large and small. Among the concerns is the often difficult financial situation that many of the disabled find themselves in.

The Achieving a Better Life Experience Act, or ABLE Act, is a bill backed by Senator Bob Casey that would allow the creation of tax-free savings accounts for people with disabilities that could be used to fund education, housing, transportation, and more. The money saved in this account would not count against the person’s eligibility for programs like Medicaid.

Sen. Casey joined Essential Pittsburgh by phone from Harrisburg to talk about a bill that, given its strong bipartisan support, has a good chance of passing.

“If we want to encourage people to save for college in a tax-free manner, or if we want to encourage people to save for retirement, why all these years have we not allowed people to save for a disability? So [the ABLE Act] gives you that chance to provide some economic security for a family and over the long term for the individual.”

Jillian Zacks is an estate attorney specializing in special needs planning. She’s also the mother of two children on the autism spectrum and talked about how her family could benefit from this legislation.

“If medical assistance only covered two hearing aids and one broke, it could cover the cost of that expense, or extra glasses. For example, my children have GI [gastrointestinal] issues, so they’re on a special diet. That food is very expensive, it could cover that medical diagnosis diet related expenses. For families, this is a great opportunity to be able to save for the future for right now, and be able to use the money for their loved one.”

To voice support for the ABLE Act, you can reach Sen. Bob Casey here.

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