August 27, 2018

Duckworth Co-Sponsors Bipartisan Bill to Expand the ABLE Savings Program


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) co-sponsored bipartisan legislation to expand eligibility for the ABLE program, which allows individuals with disabilities and their families to enroll in tax-free savings accounts to help cover the costs of long-term care and other expenses, such as housing, employment training, education and transportation. The Achieving a Better Life (ABLE) Age Adjustment Act, which was introduced by U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Richard Burr (R-NC) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), would increase the age cutoff for the ABLE program from 26 to 46 to include those who develop a significant disability later in life.

“As someone who developed an unforeseen disability later in my life, I know how critical it is to help those with disabilities and their families save money for long-term care,” Duckworth said. “I’m proud to support this bipartisan legislation that will strengthen the ABLE Act and help give more Americans with disabilities the opportunity to live full and independent lives.”

Senator Duckworth cosponsored and voted for the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act - bipartisan legislation signed into law in 2014 by President Obama – that created the ABLE program. Currently, only individuals who suffered a severe disability prior to the age of 26 are eligible to open an ABLE account. However, many debilitating diseases and conditions can occur later in life, such as multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease or paralysis due to an accident.

As a U.S. Senator, Duckworth has advocated for expanded disability rights and led efforts to protect the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Earlier this year, she gathered 42 of her colleagues to oppose the ADA Education and Reform Act, a Republican-led bill that would reward businesses for failing to make their facilities accessible to people with disabilities, enough to block the bill from being passed. Duckworth is also a co-sponsor of U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) Disability Integration Act, which would help ensure Americans with disabilities are given the option to live independent lives and access care in their communities rather than being forced into institutional care. 

Illinois is a member of the National ABLE Alliance, an alliance of fourteen states that have made their programs available to anyone in the United States in order to provide the most comprehensive ABLE services possible at the lowest cost to participants. According to the U.S. Census, 11% percent of Illinois’ estimated 12.8 million residents are individuals with disabilities.

In addition to Senators Duckworth and Casey, the bill is being cosponsored by Senators Richard Burr (R-NC), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).