by Michelle Diament from Disability Scoop:
More than a month after enacting a law allowing people with disabilities a new way to save money, the White House is celebrating what’s being hailed as landmark legislation.
Vice President Joe Biden will host members of Congress and disability advocates Tuesday afternoon at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building for an event marking the passage of the Achieving a Better Life Experience, or ABLE, Act.
The law, signed by President Barack Obama in late December, paves the way for people with disabilities to open special accounts where they can save up to $100,000 without jeopardizing eligibility for Social Security and other government benefits.
Tuesday’s event is expected to bring together advocates who lobbied for the ABLE Act and more than a half-dozen lawmakers instrumental in passing the legislation including U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., and Rep. Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla.
Sara Wolff, who has Down syndrome and testified before Congress about the significance of the ABLE Act, is expected to speak at the White House ceremony.
Passage of the ABLE Act altered federal law to allow for the new accounts. However, each state must now put regulations in place in order for financial institutions to make the accounts available.
So far, about 10 states have taken steps to allow for ABLE accounts and advocates recently met with officials at the U.S. Department of the Treasury to discuss federal regulations, according to Sara Weir, president of the National Down Syndrome Society which led efforts to lobby for the law.
“I expect if will probably be 2017 before someone can walk into a financial institution and open an ABLE account,” Weir said.