Tax Policy – Texas Opens Qualified ABLE Program

Texas recently opened a new ABLE program, bringing the total number of jurisdictions with ABLE programs to 36. The program is currently only open to Texas residents. It has four investment options. Accounts have a $4 monthly maintenance fee and asset-based fees ranging from 0.25% to 0.39% for investment options. The minimum initial deposit is $50, and the minimum amount for subsequent deposits is $25. More information about state implementation of the ABLE Act can be found here. General information about ABLE programs can be found in the National Policy Matters: ABLE Accounts for People with Disabilities here.

Tax Policy – Webinar Scheduled on Social Security’s Updated ABLE Guidance for April 26

The ABLE National Resource Center will host a webinar titled “Social Security’s Updated ABLE Guidance – A Deeper Dive”. The webinar will cover the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) newly-updated section of the Program Operation Manuals System (POMS) which provides updated guidance to local and regional SSA staff on how to treat ABLE accounts when determining eligibility for Social Security programs. The webinar will take place on April 26 from 2:00-3:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Chris Rodriguez, Director of the ABLE National Resource Center, will present and moderate the webinar. Other presenters will be Marlene Ulisky, Social Security Benefits Expert, National Disability Institute; James R. Sheldon, Supervising Attorney, Neighborhood Legal Services; and Rob Percival, Sr. Vice President, Strategic Products, Ascensus College Savings; and an ABLE account owner. Register for the webinar here.

Tax – Arizona, Wyoming Open Qualified ABLE Programs

Arizona and Wyoming recently opened new ABLE programs, bringing the total number of jurisdictions with ABLE programs to 35. These programs are currently open only to state residents. They have five investment options. The accounts have a $3.50 monthly fee and asset-based fees ranging from 0.19% to 0.34% for investment options. The minimum initial deposit is $50. More information about state implementation of the ABLE Act can be found here. General information about ABLE programs can be found in the National Policy Matters: ABLE Accounts for People with Disabilities here.

Tax Policy – New Mexico, West Virginia Open Qualified ABLE Programs

New Mexico and West Virginia opened qualified ABLE programs, bringing the total number of jurisdictions with ABLE programs to 33. The programs are currently only open to state residents. They have five investment options. The accounts have a $3.50 monthly fee and asset-based fees ranging from 0.19% to 0.34% for investment options. The minimum initial deposit is $50. More information about state implementation of the ABLE Act can be found here. General information about ABLE programs can be found in the National Policy Matters: ABLE Accounts for People with Disabilities here.

Tax Policy – Three More States Open Qualified ABLE Programs

South Carolina, Maryland, and New Hampshire opened qualified ABLE programs, bringing the total number of jurisdictions with ABLE programs to 32.

South Carolina’s ABLE program is currently only open to state residents. It has five investment options. The account has a $3.50 monthly fee and asset-based fees ranging from 0.19% to 0.34% for investment options. The minimum initial deposit is $50.

Maryland’s ABLE program is open to all eligible individuals nation-wide. It has three investment options and a cash option. The account has an annual fee of $35 and asset-based fees ranging from 0.30% to 0.38% for investment options. The minimum initial deposit is $25.

New Hampshire’s ABLE program is currently only open to state residents. It has five investment options. The account has a monthly fee of $3.50 and asset-based fees ranging from 0.19% to 0.34% for investment options. The minimum initial deposit is $50.

More information about state implementation of the ABLE Act can be found here. General information about ABLE programs can be found in the National Policy Matters: ABLE Accounts for People with Disabilities here.

Tax – Webinar on 2018 ABLE Act Changes

The ABLE National Resource Center (ANRC) will host a free webinar on changes to the ABLE Act taking place in 2018, including an increased contribution limit, the ability to roll over funds from 529 College Savings Accounts, allowing additional contributions by employed beneficiaries, and access to the Saver’s Credit. Chris Rodriguez, Director, ANRC, will moderate the panel. Panelists include Michael Morris, Executive Director, National Disability Institute; Mary Morris, Chief Executive Officer, Virginia 529/ABLEnow; Stuart Spielman, Senior Policy Advisor, Autism Speaks; David Bell, Managing Director, Oregon ABLE Savings Plan; and J.J. Hanley, Director, Illinois ABLE. The webinar will take place on Thursday, January 25 from 2:00-3:30 pm EST. Register for the webinar here.

Budget & Appropriations – Historic Tax Law Enacted

The House and Senate passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) on December 20, 2017 by votes of 224 to 201 and 51 to 48, respectively. President Trump signed the measure into law two days later. Though the final version of the legislation removed some of the objectionable provisions from prior versions, such as repeal of the medical expense deduction, the work opportunity tax credits, and the disabled access credit, The Arc strongly opposes this legislation. The TCJA repeals the individual mandate to have health insurance, leading to 13 million fewer people with coverage over 10 years, and increases the deficit by nearly $1.5 trillion over a decade, adding pressure to cut Medicaid and other critical programs while providing tax cuts that disproportionately benefit the most affluent and large corporations. See a summary of what is in the law from Politifact.

Budget & Appropriations/Tax Policy – House to Vote Tomorrow and the Senate on Wednesday on Harmful Tax Bill – Take Action

On December 15, the House and Senate Conference Report on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was released and approved by the conference committee. Though the compromise bill removes some of the objectionable provisions from prior versions, such as repeal of the medical expense deduction, the work opportunity tax credits, and the disabled access credit, The Arc strongly opposes this legislation. The TCJA repeals the individual mandate to have health insurance, leading to 13 million fewer people with coverage, and increases the deficit by nearly $1.5 trillion over a decade, adding pressure to cut Medicaid and other critical programs while providing tax cuts that disproportionately benefit the most affluent and large corporations. See a summary of winners and losers in the bill from the New York Times. Take Action TODAY to oppose this historic damaging legislation.

Budget & Appropriations/Tax Policy – Welcome Delay on Tax Bill Provides More Time for Disability Advocates to Continue Opposing Harmful Legislation

Action on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has slowed this week with the announcement that the House would not be voting on a revised tax bill this week as had originally been planned. Instead, a House-Senate conference meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, December 13. It is expected to be a relatively brief meeting allowing the Conference Committee Members to make short statements while the actual negotiations continue in private. According to press reports, the major areas of disagreement are: the alternative minimum tax, pass-through business income, the corporate tax rate, the child tax credit, deductions for state and local taxes (referred to as SALT deductions), and individual tax brackets. The Conference Committee must also resolve the differences in the major provisions that are problematic for people with disabilities.

Advocates have more time to reach out to Members of Congress to oppose this harmful legislation. The Arc’s network is urged to participate in today’s National Call Day on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that The Arc is cosponsoring and to continue advocating throughout the week. See action alert above.

Budget & Appropriations/Tax Policy – House and Senate to Negotiate Differences Between Tax Bills That Would Harm People with Disabilities

The House and Senate are scheduled to vote on moving forward with a conference committee today to iron out the differences between the tax bills that both chambers passed. The House passed its bill on November 16 and the Senate narrowly passed (51 to 49) its bill in the early morning hours of December 2. Both bills, named the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, make significant changes to the tax code for both individuals and corporations. Both would add about $1.5 trillion to the deficit over 10 years, increasing pressure to cut Medicaid and other programs to pay for the tax cuts that disproportionately benefit upper income individuals and large corporations. The Senate bill goes further by effectively repealing the individual mandate for people to have health insurance which is projected to result in 13 million fewer people with health care coverage and increase premiums by 10%. Click here to read a description of the major differences in the House and Senate bills and click here to see the differences in key provisions for people with disabilities. The Arc’s statement on the Senate’s passage of its tax bill can be found here.

Advocates are urged to turn their attention to their representatives in the House to oppose the bills TODAY. The House and Senate need to pass the identical bills in order for a measure to become law. It is still possible that the House may simply pass the version the Senate passed on Saturday morning. If this were to happen, the President is all but certain to sign the measure and it will become law. Therefore, the time to act is now. See action alert.