Dec 4, 2014

ABLE Passes House

     The ABLE Bill has passed the House of Representatives. Under the bill, contributions may be made to an ABLE account set up for a recipient of Supplemental Security Income Disability (SSID) without affecting SSID entitlement. The funds in ABLE accounts may be used for "education, housing, transportation, employment training and support, assistive technology and personal support services, health, prevention and wellness, financial management and administrative services, legal fees, expenses for oversight and monitoring, funeral and burial expense."
     Although ABLE would affect needs based programs such as SSID, it will primarily help disabled people who come from middle class or wealthy families. They are the ones who will have the money to contribute to ABLE accounts. The ABLE Bill doesn't update the absurdly low income and resource limits in SSI. This is not the fault of those behind ABLE. They would like to update SSI as well. This was the best they could do. It says something about the current state of our politics that helping poor people would be considered a deal breaker for this bill.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tell us again how being able to set up an ABLE acount for funds to be used for designated items, would help the middle class and wealthy families and not the poor? The poor are the only ones that benefit from the ABLE Act. The rich don't qualify for SSID due to income and resource limits..

Anonymous said...

Does it contain increase in User Fee?

Anonymous said...

2:54PM

Rich qualify for SSDI. They don't qualify for SSI.

Anonymous said...

True, but if you look at the OP, it said, "SSID", not SSDI. Therefore I rst on my post.

Anonymous said...

It only applies to claimants who become disabled up to age 26. I certainly support the bill, but it would be much better if it applied to everyone on SSI.

It is way past time to COLA adjust the countable resources limits of $2000/$3000.

Social Security News said...

I generally don't respond to comments but I feel compelled to dispel a little darkness here. Those with developmental disabilities often come from middle class and wealthy families. These families want the government to support these developmentally disabled people. To do so, they now have to abstain from giving or leaving money to these disabled family members because if they give them money or will them money they will no longer be poor enough to get SSI and Medicaid. This bill allows these families to give money or leave money to these disabled people. All they have to do is set up an ABLE account. This does no good for poor families since they don't have the money to give in the first place. Meanwhile, the SSI income and resource rules are ridiculously out of date and penalize poor people who receive tiny amounts of money from their poor families. These small amounts of money don't justify the effort and expense of setting up an ABLE account.

Anonymous said...

I do hope they make the accounts simple and cheap to set up if it becomes law. If the transactional costs to set them up are as high as they are currently for special needs trusts (typically $5K to $8K), then it will mostly only benefit richer families with larger amounts of money. I'd like to see it help people who are only able to sock away smaller amounts.

Every once in awhile I see an SSI recipient come into a sum modestly over the resource limit, but nowhere near high enough to justify a special needs trust given the transactional costs. The current situation encourages the SSI recipient to imprudently squander the money as fast as possible to avoid a resource penalty in the next month. In some states even modest sums can interrupt their health insurance. If the ABLE accounts allow that group to save such funds for prudent and productive uses without affecting SSI, then I'm a supporter. Broader applicability would be better, but at least its a start.

Anonymous said...

Social Security News said...
I generally don't respond to comments but I feel compelled to dispel a little darkness here. Those with developmental disabilities often come from middle class and wealthy families. These families want the government to support these developmentally disabled people.

Where you veer off course is saying "These families want the government to support these developmentally disabled people". Speaking as a middle class fed with an over age 22 disabled since birth son, I would love if it were at all possible to avoid government in caring for my son, and planning for his future. But unless you are a multi-millionaire and can pay for whatyou need out of pocket, your choices are government services or none. Because the system is designed for self-pay or for Medicaid. And government services come with the requirement that the individual be a pauper. (And let's not get started on how inadequate these services are, having been stretched thin to deal with budget cuts and increasing caseloads. Cost out job training, job coaching, home costs for a MI individual who needs supervision and you'll quickly understand why this ABLE has interest. But it's not because parents want government to support their kid. No one in their right mind would be satisfied weith what you get to work with in 2014 as a new case.

Anonymous said...

Wealthy families want want the government to support these developmentally disabled people? Why, so they can keep those 2nd and 3rd homes, buy the 2nd and 3rd Lexus, etc? Line up at the trough that continues to put generations yet to come under massive debt. Is this the intention of the bill?
SSA will find it difficult to administer. Seeing some cut off for small but over $2K cash value of life insurance while others have large but excluded assets? Heaven help us from good intentions.

Anonymous said...

To 7:17

I think you're missing the point. NO one, rich or poor, wants to have to need Government services to help support their child, or themselves for that matter. But programs are there, such as SSI, to assist in the care of, among others, developmentally disabled adult children. SSI does this partly through the meager cash grant but mainly by guaranteeing Medicaid coverage.

The point regarding the ABLE act is that what originally involved careful planning such as a Medicaid qualifying trust, the process of providing funding of needs of these individuals will be somewhat simplified. Of course how simplified will have to be seen.

The point that the OP was trying to make is that the poor will not really be able to take advantage of the ABLE Act. For that matter, most working people will have a hard time too with any significant contribution. For the wealthy, they probably could have done this already with a Qualifying Trust but as I said this just makes it easier.

Anonymous said...

Now I understand why the Republicans supported this bill:

1.) It does not help the poor; and

2.) Reduces business for lawyers who specialize in creating Qualifying Trusts for those wealthy people.

This is what Republicans call a "Win-Win".