Wednesday, January 9, 2019
Article on A Run for Your Money: Are ABLE Accounts Truly an Innovative, User-Friendly Financial Savings Tool for the Broad Spectrum of Disabled Americans?
Madeleine Laser recently published a Note entitled, A Run for Your Money: Are ABLE Accounts Truly an Innovative, User-Friendly Financial Savings Tool for the Broad Spectrum of Disabled Americans? 34 Touro L. Rev. 789-821 (2018). Provided below is a portion of the introduction of the Note.
There are 8.8 million disabled American wage earners who receive social security disability income benefits. Although these 8.8 million disabled Americans are working, they are constrained to a life savings of no more than two thousand dollars. Disabled Americans, many of whom lobbied for the passage of the Achieving a Better Life Experience (“ABLE”) Act, desire a future where they no longer fear taking a full-time job or promotion. Passage of the ABLE Act, thus, represents more than a new savings tool that shields a disabled person’s assets, but also a growing opportunity for upward socioeconomic mobility and financial stability. Disabled Americans should not fear losing benefits because their benefits are protected in an ABLE account.
Disabled individuals who receive Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) benefits and Medicaid are legally entitled to have two thousand dollars in savings without being disqualified. Against their better judgment, hard-working disabled individuals constantly spend their money to avoid losing these benefits by surpassing the two thousand dollar savings cap threshold. Disabled individuals are “[shackled] to a life of poverty,” unable to create a financial safety net or prepare for future goals. Recipients of SSI and Medicaid whose disabilities inhibit their ability to earn enough money to pay bills and keep food on their table describe their financial situation as a “constant state of anxiety and fear.” The Social Security Act (“SSA”) strictly limits how a recipient can earn, save, and spend money, which consequently discourages upward economic mobility for fear of losing benefits.