Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL) and Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) have introduced legislation to make it easier for people with disabilities, including Parkinson’s-related disabilities, to save for long-term care and quality of life expenses.
The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act (H.R. 647/S. 313) amends section 529 of the federal tax code to create tax-free savings accounts for people with disabilities. ABLE accounts would act much like the 529 accounts that individuals currently use to save for college expenses – but instead allow people with certified disabilities and their families save for present and future expenses like transportation costs, housing and home improvements, health, and wellness. For example, these saving accounts could be used to help offset the costs of structural improvements in the home, such as the additions of wheelchair-accessible lifts and passageways.
The bill has attracted over 345 bipartisan co-sponsors in the House and over 65 in the Senate, including Senate leadership. Lawmakers are hoping to pass the legislation by the end of 2014. PAN sent letters of support to Rep. Crenshaw and Sen. Casey, as well as the bill’s original co-sponsors, praising the measure as a positive step toward helping people with Parkinson’s-related disabilities maintain a sense of financial security as the costs of managing their disease and maintaining independence changes over time.
Update: On July 29, 2014, PAN withdrew support of the House version of this legislation due to changes made in markup.