Back in 2014, Congress passed the ABLE Act, which allows people with disabilities to establish financial accounts to help them with various expenses while not jeopardizing Social Security payments or other benefits.
Prior to the law, a disabled person’s financial assets could result in limits on certain government payments.
Under the bipartisan measure, an American who become disabled before age 26 may accrue a total of up to $14,000 annually in the account — through donations from family members, friends or others, for instance —to pay for housing, transportation, health care and other items.
The accounts also offer tax advantages and may reach a maximum of $100,000. They are similar to 529 plans, which allow families to set aside money tax free to build a child’s college fund.
On Thursday, Nevada became one of the first states to implement the new program, making it available through the state treasurer’s office. Those interested in more information should contact the Nevada Aging and Disability Services Division.
Meanwhile, Congress is already considering an expansion of the initiative, including raising the savings cap and increasing the disability onset age to 46. The latter could be somewhat controversial, given that fraud in the Social Security disability program is hardly unknown as payments have ballooned in recent decades.
Overall, though, Nevada officials deserve credit for moving quickly to implement the ABLE Act. It’s a reasonable effort to help those who face physical challenges that make it difficult or impossible to live independently.