U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday that the United States Senate approved a bipartisan bill he co-sponsored to assist Kentuckians with disabilities and parents who have children with disabilities. Introduced by Senators Robert Casey, Jr. (D-PA) and Richard Burr (R-NC) the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act will create a tax-advantaged savings account – very similar to a state qualified tuition program commonly known as a 529 plan — that can be used for education, housing, transportation, and other qualified disability-related expenses. The savings account will allow individuals and families to pay disability-related expenses without jeopardizing access to their federal and state disability benefits. Previously, Senator McConnell led a bipartisan effort to enact legislation to offer federal tax relief for 529 plans.
“Over the past year I’ve heard from and met with a number of Kentucky parents of children with disabilities who are struggling to pay for medical and other disability-related expenses, and I was honored to work on their behalf to secure passage of this legislation in the United States Senate,” Senator McConnell said. “The ABLE Act will help Kentucky families, children, and individuals living with disabilities save money for the future.”
National Down Syndrome Society DS-Ambassador Lynn Braker of Lexington, Kentucky said, “This is a monumental, landmark bill for people with Down syndrome and our families. This bill will change the way that families, including mine, will save for all their children and adults with Down syndrome and will ease the unnecessary burdens that are placed on families – all while allowing people with Down syndrome to work and save for the future. We look forward to the ABLE Act getting to the President’s desk and becoming law this year. I sincerely thank Senator Mitch McConnell for his dedication and leadership on the ABLE Act, and all he does for people with disabilities. He’s a true champion for us.”
Anne Gregory, from Louisville and the Kentucky Autism Speaks state coordinator, who advocated on behalf of the ABLE bill during a visit to Senator McConnell’s office said, “I am so pleased to learn that Senator McConnell has helped pass this critical legislation benefiting families affected by autism and other disabilities. A family can save tax-free college funds for their children under a 529 plan; it makes sense that they should be able to do the same for the life-long expenses of their loved ones with disabilities, which typically far exceed the average college tuition. I am grateful that Congress has acted and the bill is heading to the President’s desk. This law will help families help themselves.”