2016 Expected Arizona Legislation:
Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act
By Amina Kruck, VP of Advocacy, Ability360
Photo by John Beaubien
What is the ABLE Act?
Federal legislation which created a new type of savings account specifically for individuals with disabilities, similar to the Section 529 College Savings Plans.
What does the ABLE Act establish?
Tax-free savings accounts specifically for individuals disabled prior to age 26. It will allow individuals living with disabilities to have more assets than the current $2,000 limit, while maintaining eligibility for government benefits like Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
Who will be eligible for ABLE Accounts?
1. Individuals diagnosed with the disability before the age of 26.
2. Individuals must receive federal benefits under SSI or SSDI programs, or receive a disability certification under the pending IRS rules.
Who can contribute to an ABLE Account?
Anyone can make a contribution to an ABLE Account. This includes the account owner, friends, and relatives; however, there is an annual contribution cap of $14,000.
What can an ABLE Account be used for?
Qualified expenses directly related to the individual’s disability, including health care, education, housing, transportation, assistive technology and other related expenses. Arizona will have the opportunity to expand the federal definition of qualified expenses in our state legislation.
Where does ABLE Act legislation stand in Arizona?
Establishment of ABLE accounts in Arizona awaits passage of enabling legislation in the State Legislature. A statewide working group, comprised of representatives from more than three dozen disability organizations, state agencies, and members of the Legislature, has been meeting to craft a bill that will be introduced in the 2016 session.
Amina Donna Kruck
VP of Advocacy, Ability360
Donna Kruck is the Vice President of Advocacy programs at Ability360. Kruck is a state Professional Licensed Counselor with a master’s of Counseling from Arizona State University.
Kruck supervises several programs, including the volunteer program which includes a 65-member peer mentor volunteer team, the This Is MY Life self-determination program for persons with developmental disabilities, the AZ Freedom to Work Program, Social Security Work Incentives Benefits Planning Assistance and Outreach Program and Ability360’s Advocacy Program, which addresses individual issues and community/systems change.
As Vice President of Advocacy, Kruck creates programs which empower individuals with disabilities and their families through advocacy related workshops, one-on-one mentoring, facilitating wellness groups, providing technical assistance for the development of consumer-driven initiatives, and developing community partnerships to address barriers to consumer choice, equal rights and self-determination. Kruck also provides workshops on the legislative process, disability oppression, self-advocacy skills, and is a regular contributor to Ability360’s quarterly magazine, LivAbility.