Maryland’s 8th District
For Immediate Release
September 29, 2016
CONTACT:    Ian Jannetta – 202-225-5341
Van Hollen Receives 2016 Impact Award from the National Down Syndrome Society
Photo: Left to right: NDSS President Sara Hart Weir; Congressman Van Hollen; NDSS Advocacy Programs Assistant Adrian Forsythe; and NDSS Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy Heather Sachs, JD
Washington, DC – Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen has received the National Down Syndrome Society’s 2016 Impact Award for his leadership on issues facing individuals with Down syndrome and their families.
“It is a privilege to work alongside individuals with disabilities, their families, and advocates to help ensure every person is able to live up to their full potential, and I am honored to receive this recognition from the National Down Syndrome Society,” said Congressman Van Hollen. “The hard work and advocacy of individuals with Down syndrome and organizations like NDSS were instrumental to passage of the ABLE Act. Together, we’ll continue to work on a bipartisan basis to help improve and expand access to ABLE accounts and keep moving forward on this critical issue of equality.”
“NDSS is honored to recognize Congressman Chris Van Hollen with our 2016 NDSS Impact Award for his tireless advocacy and leadership on behalf of all people with Down syndrome and their families,” said NDSS President Sara Hart Weir. “We are beyond grateful for Congressman Van Hollen’s continued leadership on the ABLE Act, especially the ABLE to Work Act.”
Congressman Van Hollen was the lead House Democratic cosponsor of the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, which was signed into law in 2014. The ABLE Act lets families who have a child with a disability save for their long-term care through 529-style savings accounts. The ABLE Act was a significant step forward and has been heralded as one of the most important pieces of disability legislation since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Since the passage of the ABLE Act in 2014, 47 states – including Maryland – have passed ABLE laws,  and legislation is pending in several more states. Congressman Van Hollen submitted testimony in support of Maryland’s ABLE bill earlier this year. 
In March, Congressman Van Hollen joined Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Bob Casey (D-PA) and Representatives Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), and Pete Sessions (R-TX) in introducing a package of bills aimed at enhancing the ABLE Act, including the ABLE to Work Act.
The ABLE to Work Act expands on the goals of the ABLE Act by encouraging work and self-sufficiency. The legislation allows individuals and their families to save more money in an ABLE account if the beneficiary works and earns income. Specifically, an ABLE beneficiary who earns income from a job could save up to the Federal Poverty Level, which is currently at $11,770. The bill will also allow ABLE beneficiaries to qualify for the existing Saver’s Credit when they put savings in.
Other bills in the package include The ABLE Age Adjustment Act, which would raise the age of onset of disability from 26 to 46 enabling individuals who become disabled later in life to open ABLE accounts, and The ABLE Financial Planning Act, which would allow rollovers of 529 accounts to ABLE (529A) accounts.