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Olathe family helps pass ABLE Act to help Americans with special needs save money

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OLATHE, Kan. – People living with disabilities may soon live with one less limit, following the approval of a house bill in Washington, D.C. Wednesday.

Living with special needs is somewhat limiting to begin with. Having a cap on how much money you can put away without losing government help can be just an added burden.  If the Senate and the President get on board, this bill becoming law will eliminate one limit for Americans with disabilities.

ABLE stands for “achieving a better life experience.” Bill advocates hope to accomplish this by letting people with disabilities save money without losing government assistance. Now, the savings cap is at $2,000, but the ABLE Act upped that to $14,000. The bill also allows people with disabilities to open tax-free bank accounts. Jonathan Mast and his family have helped pushed for this change for nearly a decade. He says the savings aspect is critical because he wants his daughter to still qualify for government assistance when it comes to things like transportation, yet stand on her own by saving her own money without penalty.

The 404-17 vote on Wednesday approves the most sweeping legislation to help the disabled since 1990, affecting as many as 54 million people.  Eight five percent of Congress was listed as co-sponsors.  Under the measure, families would be able to set up tax-free savings accounts at financial institutions to pay for expenses such as education, housing and health care.

Mast said, “We don’t want Rachel to take handouts necessarily. We want her to earn a living, be like anybody else, and have a job, but also be realistic and understand that as she grows, there will still be things that she needs and even if you have a fairly good income, that can be fairly expensive.”

Mast says he had tears watching the vote yesterday on C-Span. Now, supporters of the bill will wait for the senate to approve it next week. Once that happens, the president is set to sign in into law early next year.