Urges Congress to pass ABLE Adjustment Act to extend eligibility age to 46
Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella today announced that the PA Treasury Department provided testimony before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging as part of a hearing to explore the financial stability of Americans with disabilities. Today’s testimony provided by Jack Stollsteimer, Deputy Treasurer of Consumer Programs and Public Engagement, detailed the implementation of the PA ABLE Savings Program.
“Pennsylvanians with disabilities work every day, in all different areas of our lives and economy, and deserve to be able to save and build wealth for their lives and as they age. But for far too long we’ve hampered their ability to do so. With PA ABLE, we’ve quickly helped Pennsylvanians save more than $8.3 million and open more than 1,400 accounts. But there’s much more work to do in expanding access, so that every person with a disability can use this life-changing program.
Pennsylvania Treasurer, Joe Torsella
The Pennsylvania ABLE Act follows passage of federal legislation by Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senator Bob Casey that authorized states to create ABLE programs. Modeled after 529 college savings accounts, ABLE accounts allow individuals with qualifying disabilities and their families to save for a wide range of disability-related expenses tax-free, and provides investment options offered to encourage saving private funds to support health, independence, and quality of life.
“People with disabilities are less likely to be employed, more likely to be underemployed and are twice as likely to live in poverty as compared to their working-age peers. With fewer opportunities to earn income and significant penalties that prevent saving, people with disabilities and their families are often in difficult financial situations. This is why I worked with Senator Burr to pass the ABLE Act—to help people with disabilities achieve financial independence and economic stability. Congress can further address these economic challenges by passing the ABLE Age Adjustment Act, which would expand ABLE account eligibility to people who acquire a disability prior to age 46.
U.S. Senator, Bob Casey, Ranking Member of the Special Committee on Aging
ABLE savings accounts are excluded from eligibility determinations for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits (savings up to $100,000, with exceptions), other means-tested federal programs, Medical Assistance, and other state means-tested disability and health benefits programs on which individuals with disabilities must often depend.
Pennsylvania opened the PA ABLE Savings Program on April 3, 2017. As part of the testimony, Treasury highlighted that in the 15 months since Pennsylvania’s program launched, Treasury has experienced a surge of interest resulting in more than $8.3 million in assets and 1,400 account holders.
Today, Treasury also advocated for the consideration of the ABLE Adjustment Act which would increase the utilization of the program by allowing individuals with disabilities that started before age 46 to open ABLE accounts. Currently legislation requires the qualifying disability must have started prior to age 26.