PHILADELPHIA — U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., wants to raise the age to 46 for Americans with disabilities to open special savings accounts, allowing six million more people who might not otherwise be eligible.

Casey is sponsoring the ABLE Age Adjustment Act, along with 12 other senators from both sides of the aisle including Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.

The accounts, established under the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014, can be used for a range of expenses, including housing, education and legal fees.

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“Many people experience the onset of a disability over the age of 26, and that includes six million more Americans,” Casey said in an interview. “The new age of 46 covers a lot of people.”

Casey expects that Congress will debate the proposal later this year, and wants to include the new ABLE bill as part of a bipartisan retirement package being considered in the Senate Finance Committee.

“It makes sense to have the ABLE Act included as a part of that,” Casey said.

The other Republican co-sponsors are Jerry Moran, R-Kan., John Boozman, R-Ark., Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Roger Marshall, R-Kan. Democratic co-sponsors are Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Ben Cardin, D-Md.

ABLE accounts are tax free savings vehicle for those with disabilities. These serve a purpose similar to trusts set up to help children with disabilities without disqualifying them from government benefits such as SSI, Medicaid and means-tested programs such as HUD and SNAP/food stamps.

“Nationally, we’re getting close to 100,000 ABLE accounts, but we need more people to open them up,” Casey said.

Currently, people with a disability with an onset date before their 26th birthday can open ABLE accounts. The ABLE Age Adjustment Act would raise the age limit to 46, allowing more Americans to save while not risking the loss of their federal benefits.

With ABLE accounts in 43 states, about 91,000 Americans have saved more than $759 million, an average of more than $8,300, according to Casey’s office.

© 2021 The Philadelphia Inquirer
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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