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Tax-free savings account for disabled has support in Congress

A disability creates many additional challenges for those who are disabled and their families. They may leave a person unable to earn a living, forcing them to rely on programs like Social Security disability insurance (SSDI).

It may mean they can no longer drive a car and must rely on public transportation. It may be a childhood disability, such as Down syndrome, which affects their abilities and places them in need of the support offered by programs like the supplemental security income (SSI) program.

However, because their need is often great, they must use every program where they are eligible. Another source of help could become available if a bill pending in Congress is approved.

But because their needs can be so great, every program that they are eligible for can offer a valuable contribution to the spectrum of help they receive. Another source of help could become available if a bill pending in Congress is approved.

The bill, which is entitled the ABLE act, would create for the disabled a tax-free savings account that would be similar to 529 plans that are used for educational expenses or health savings accounts.

The act would be one additional tool for those with disabilities to use to protect themselves from financial hardship. It has been endorsed by the National Down Syndrome Society, has substantial support in Congress.

However, it has been proposed three times in previous sessions of Congress and failed to obtain the necessary votes. With the real potential for cuts to programs like SSI and SSDI looming, Congress should at least provide this assistance for the disabled.

Source: Lehighvalleylive.com, "U.S. Sen. Bob Casey in Bethlehem touts savings account bill for people with disabilities," Express Times staff and wire, May 5, 2014

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