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Casey Holds Hearing on Building Wealth and Retirement Security, Highlights ABLE Age Adjustment Act

More than 5,200 people from PA have used ABLE to save over $57 million

Washington, DC - Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, held a hearing entitled, “Building Wealth and Fostering Independence: Creating Opportunities to Save.” The hearing examined the challenges that people face while trying to save for retirement and achieve long-term financial security, especially for people with disabilities and communities of color. Senator Casey highlighted his bipartisan ABLE Age Adjustment Act (S. 331), which would provide 6 million additional Americans with disabilities with the opportunity to open an ABLE account and save for the future.

“ABLE accounts allow people with disabilities to save money without losing their federal disability benefits, giving people the option to open their own businesses, save for retirement, purchase the technology they need and so much more. ABLE has made building wealth a real possibility for millions of Americans, but our work is not done. That is why I introduced S. 331, the bipartisan ABLE Age Adjustment Act, with Senator Jerry Moran, which would expand eligibility for opening an ABLE account and remove barriers to economic independence for millions of Americans,” said Chairman Casey. “As a Nation, we have only begun to address the barriers to economic security for people with disabilities and communities of color as they age.”

Currently, the ABLE Act allows people who acquired their disability prior to their 26th birthday to open ABLE accounts. The ABLE Age Adjustment Act would raise the age limit to 46, allowing more Americans to save up to $100,000 while not risking the loss of their federal disability benefits. With the opening of ABLE accounts in 43 states, more than 91,000 people have been able to save over $759 million, an average of over $8,300.

As of 2020, approximately 39 percent of people with disabilities of working age in the United States were employed, compared to the 79 percent of working age people without disabilities. Higher levels of poverty and unemployment have made it more difficult to save long-term for many people from African American, Latinx and other minority communities.

Chairman Casey invited Dr. Josie Badger as a witness, who testified about how an ABLE account helped her buy her first home. She said, “Through the little bit of savings that I put into the [ABLE] account and a gift, I purchased a home exactly a year ago yesterday. This was only possible because of my ABLE savings account. It is a wonderful program, but it is still not enough. Because of the strict age criteria for disability onset, 26 years of age, ABLE accounts don’t serve all available people with disabilities, even though their financial needs are the same. We need to fix that problem … It is time to update disability support policies and to promote work, economic wealth and to remove the barriers for disabled people to be able to fully contribute to society.”

Read more about the ABLE Age Adjustment Act here.