On June 30, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing titled “2020 Filing Season and IRS COVID-19 Recovery.” The sole witness was Charles P. Rettig, Commissioner, Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Commissioner Rettig stated at the hearing that the IRS would send corrective payments to all non-filers who used the IRS non-filer portal before May 17 but did not receive their economic impact payments. However, non-filers who didn’t use the form will not receive payments. Visit the Committee website for more information or to view archived video of the hearing.
On June 18, the House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures held a hearing titled “Tax Relief to Support Workers and Families During the COVID-19 Recession.” Witnesses were Amy Matsui, Senior Counsel, The National Women’s Law Center; Indivar Dutta-Gupta, Co-Executive Director, the Center on Poverty and Inequality at the Georgetown University Law Center; Allison Bovell-Ammon, Director of Policy Strategy for Children’s HealthWatch at Boston Medical Center; Martha Rodriguez, Preschool educator from Renton, WA; and Kyle Pomerleau, resident fellow, American Enterprise Institute. Visit the Committee website for more information or to access video of the hearing.
On Thursday, November 14, The Arc and partner organizations will host a call-in day in support of the ABLE Age Adjustment Act. For the past five years, Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) accounts have allowed millions of people with disabilities to save money without jeopardizing access to needed benefits. However, millions of people aren’t eligible because they did not acquire their disability before age 26. The ABLE Age Adjustment Act would raise the maximum age from before 26 to before 46, making six million additional people eligible. As a result, ABLE programs will become more solvent. To RSVP or find more information, visit the event Facebook page. You can also tweet at your members using this link.
Last week, in conjunction with the 29th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Representatives Donald McEachin (D-VA) and Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Bob Casey (D-PA) re-introduced the Disabled Access Credit Expansion Act (H.R.4045/S.2290). This bill will double the Disabled Access Credit (DAC) and increase the number of businesses eligible for it. The DAC is a tax credit for small businesses that make renovations to make their facilities accessible. Additionally, the bill increases funding for the voluntary ADA Mediation Program in the Department of Justice and requires data collection and reporting on the types of calls received by the ADA Information Line.
In June, Mississippi opened a new Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) program, bringing the total number of jurisdictions with ABLE programs to 43. The program is open to all eligible individuals nationwide. It has six investment options and a checking option with a debit card. The program has a quarterly maintenance fee of $15 with a $3.75 discount for opting to receive statements via email and a $1.25 discount for Mississippi residents. Asset-based fees for investment options range from 0.34% to 0.38%. More information about state implementation of the ABLE Act can be found here.
On June 18, Representatives Richard Neal (D-MA) and Michael San Nicolas (D-GU) introduced the Economic Mobility Act of 2019 (H.R.3300). This bill makes various improvements to the earned income tax credit, child tax credit, and dependent care assistance, most of which last for two years. Additionally, it repeals a provision of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 that imposes a tax on non-profit organizations that provide transportation benefits to their employees.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently issued long-awaited guidance clarifying that funds in ABLE accounts should not be included in determining a person’s eligibility for means-tested housing assistance. ABLE accounts are available to people with significant disabilities that developed before the age of 26, including those who meet the eligibility requirements under Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security disability programs, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Money in an ABLE account can be used to cover “qualified disability expenses,” such as housing, education, and transportation. In general, to be eligible for some public benefits that many people with disabilities and their families rely on, including Medicaid and housing assistance, an individual is limited to no more than $2,000 in cash savings, retirement funds, and other items of significant value. ABLE accounts are an option for people with disabilities to build savings without taking away their eligibility for these important benefits.
The ABLE Act states that amounts in an ABLE account or contributions to an ABLE account and pay-outs for qualified disability expenses should not be counted for federal means-tested programs. Consistent with Internal Revenue Service and Social Security Administration policy, the HUD notice clarifies that, for the purpose of determining eligibility and continued occupancy for a list of key HUD programs, HUD will disregard amounts in the individual’s ABLE account. Some people with disabilities and their families have heard confusing or inaccurate information about whether or not participation in ABLE could threaten their receipt of other critical federal benefits. The notice is good news for people in HUD-funded programs and should be helpful in addressing questions about the treatment of ABLE account funds.
On March 18, Representatives Tony Cardenas (D-CA), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Michael Turner (R-OH), Max Rose (D-NY), and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) reintroduced the ABLE Age Adjustment Act (H.R.1814). This bill amends the Stephen J. Beck, Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act to increase the maximum age of onset limit from before 26 to before 46. Its companion bill, S.651, was introduced in the Senate on March 5. The Arc supports the ABLE Age Adjustment Act.
On March 5, Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Pat Roberts (R-KS) reintroduced the ABLE Age Adjustment Act (S.651). This bill amends the Stephen J. Beck, Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act to increase the maximum age of onset limit from before 26 to before 46. The Arc supports the ABLE Age Adjustment Act.
In December, California opened a new Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) program, bringing the total number of jurisdictions with ABLE programs to 42. The program is open to all eligible individuals nationwide. It has three investment options and a savings option. The program has an annual maintenance fee of $37 and an additional $10 annual fee for those selecting paper statements. Asset-based fees for investments options range from 0.52% to 0.54%. More information about state implementation of the ABLE Act can be found here.