In recent months, lawmakers have almost waged war against the disabled. From proposals of chained CPI that would cut the cost of living increase, to crack-downs on disability fraud, to proposals to slash disability benefits for those on unemployment, the news coming out of Washington has been nothing but bad.
Now, however, Disability Scoop indicates that federal lawmakers are actually considering a change that would be helpful to those who are coping with disabilities. The proposed law would make it easier for people who are in need of SSD benefits to actually be able to save money to take care of their futures. The bill has a long way to go and faces a tough legislative climate with lawmakers not exactly predisposed to helping the disabled. Still, with public pressure and with lots of support from disability advocates, perhaps a positive law could pass.
Those who are receiving SSD benefits or who are in need of such benefits should especially watch the progress of the law. You need to be careful about your current savings and resources if you receive certain types of disability benefits, as your Boston disability lawyer can explain to you, but this law could provide you with benefits that allow you to improve your financial situation.
Bill Could Allow the Disabled to Save
Certain disability benefits programs through the Social Security Administration (SSA) are means-tested programs. If you get your benefits through a means-tested program, you could be limited to having as little as $2,000 in the bank before your access to disability income is cut off. Having too much money in the bank could also result in losing access to Medicaid, which you may depend upon to allow you to see your doctor and get access to healthcare services.
Not being allowed to save money is a huge hindrance. Without being able to save cash in the bank, you cannot pay for educational opportunities that might make it possible for you to find work, even with your disability. You also cannot necessarily save up for larger healthcare costs, transportation expenses or housing expenses.
Some lawmakers recognize that this is a huge problem, and are now considering the Achieving a Better Life Experience, or ABLE Act, that would allow the disabled to save as much as $100,000 without risking benefits eligibility. People who are covered by the ABLE Act could also retain their Medicaid coverage no matter how much was deposited in the special accounts.
The savings accounts would be modeled after 529 college savings plans and would allow eligible disabled individuals to open up the account at any financial institution. Interest earned on savings in the accounts would be tax-free.
There are currently 63 co-sponsors of the law, which is backed by every disability advocate group and which has support among both political parties. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) will soon be weighing in on the expected cost to the government. Hopefully, the cost analysis will be one that is reasonable and the bill will garner enough votes to pass and protect the disabled, even in a divided congress.
If you are considering filing for SSDI in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
More Blog Entries:
Government Changes Rules for SSD Judges, Jan. 9, 2014, Boston Social Security Disability Lawyer Blog