DANBURY, Conn. -- U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-5th District) is applauding the passage of the bipartisan Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE), which establishes tax-preferred savings accounts for individuals with disabilities. Esty co-sponsored the legislation after a visit from a Danbury family.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the ABLE Act by a bipartisan vote of 404 to 17 last week.
The ABLE Act will create new tax-preferred savings accounts for individuals with disabilities. Beneficiaries will be able to make tax-free withdrawals from their ABLE accounts to cover qualified expenses for education, housing, transportation and healthcare needs without losing access to Medicaid and other federal assistance programs.
The Hickey family from Danbury visited Esty’s Washington, D.C., office to tell their story and express support for the ABLE Act. Their advocacy inspired Esty to co-sponsor this bill and work for its passage.
“Families with children with disabilities often face enormous costs for basic transportation, housing, and education needs. After hearing from families like the Hickey family, I advocated for the ABLE Act in Congress," Esty said.
"We should be doing everything we can to ensure that families can both pay for the services they need now and plan for the future. I’m proud that the House of Representatives passed the ABLE Act today, making it easier for individuals with disabilities and their families to maintain their health, independence, and quality of life,” she said.
“I want to thank Representative Esty for enthusiastically co-sponsoring the ABLE Act and giving her support and help to all individuals with intellectual disabilities. As my wife and I looked into our 13-year-old son’s future, we were shocked to learn how current laws would penalize him and others like him with intellectual disabilities. He talks now of having a job, but current law would penalize him for working and saving money because he could lose public assistance such as housing and Medicaid. That’s a scary proposition," said Eugene Hickey of Danbury.
"Passage of the ABLE Act will allow him to have the satisfaction of earning and saving money for himself. He will be able to afford assistive technologies, housing, job training, and transportation, while enjoying the pleasures of life that many of us take for granted," he said.
The ABLE Act is now before the U.S. Senate for consideration and is expected to be passed and signed into law by the end of the year.
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