Guest blogger Jo Ann Simons, CEO, Cardinal Cushing Centers
Many of you who follow the trends in the rights of those with disabilities already are aware that on November 15, the US Congress saw the introduction of “The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2011” (S. 1872/H.R. 3423). This legislation goes a long way in protecting the financial security of those with disabilities. How exactly does the ABLE Act accomplish this?
Once it becomes the law of the land, ABLE will allow those with disabilities and their families to save for the child’s future services without risking a loss of benefits from such sources as their private insurance policies, Medicaid, the Supplemental Security Income program and more. The protected savings will then be available to supplement the benefits provided through these other sources. This will mean that families who have a child with a disability will be in the position to cover the costs of every day living and community participation that aren’t covered by the basics of private or public insurance. These could potentially include extra medical and dental care, education, community-based programs, job training, assistive technology, housing costs and transportation to and from work.
What’s more, any income earned on amounts contributed to an ABLE Account would be considered tax-exempt and not counted toward asset limits for eligibility to federal programs.
Last year’s ABLE Act garnered more than cosponsors in the House and 25 in the Senate. But it will take a full push this year to get this key legislation through the next session of Congress. On behalf of everyone with disabilities and their families, please get in touch with your state’s senators and U.S. representatives, telling them how important it is for them to sign on as cosponsors of the ABLE Act of 2011.
— Jo Ann Simons