If the money is deposited into an ABLE account, it will not count towards the $ 2,000 limit. It can be saved or invested and later spent on a variety of disability-related needs such as housing, transportation, education, and training.
Disabled people working towards independence can save a down payment for an apartment or a wheelchair-accessible car. Or the funds can be used to save on special therapy or legal fees.
“It is incredibly helpful to save for these major expenses,” said Bethany Lilly, senior director, income policy for Arc, a nonprofit that works for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
In the first round of stimulus payments, individuals received up to $ 1,200 based on income; up to $ 600 on the second round. The third round, which is the subject of Congressional negotiations, is expected to be $ 1,400, but income caps may be lower.
“If you put it into an ABLE account, it’s an emergency fund,” said Ms. Morris of ABLE Now. “It’s a really nice opportunity.”
Some families have been reluctant to use ABLE accounts because others face high account and investment fees. Increasing the number of participants, according to proponents of the account, could help cut costs. Many countries have entered into partnerships to better market the accounts, said Andrea Feirstein, managing director of the AKF Consulting Group.
The legislation reintroduced in Congress also aims to expand the number of people who qualify for the accounts. To be eligible for an ABLE account, someone must currently be disabled until the age of 26. The ABLE Age Adjustment Act would raise the age threshold to 46 years. Such a move would increase the pool of eligible persons to around 14 million, Ms. Feirstein said.