And Speaking of Inclusion…

thoughtful teen boy in shadow 2

You have come to know that all programs here at JF&CS champion helping individuals achieve their greatest potential and self-sufficiency no matter who they are or where they come from. Diversity and inclusion are values we promote every day, not just at annual meetings. As supporters of our work, we ask you to consider the following request.

The federal Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2013 helps people living with disabilities and their families better cope with the financial burdens disabilities can bring by creating special tax-free savings accounts to fund essential expenses like housing, home modifications and special equipment, medical needs, transportation, and training and education. These accounts have limits ($14,000/year, maximum $100,000), and are not included when evaluating eligibility for social and support services such as SSI or Medicare.

We have learned that there is a way we (and you!) can build on the progress of the ABLE Act by supporting our own Senator Bob Casey’s effort to amend some provisions in the law.

The ABLE Age Adjustment Act, (S. 2704, H.R. 4813) would raise the age limit of the onset of disability to age 46. At present, a person must have been diagnosed with a disability prior to his or her 26th birthday to qualify for an ABLE Act account.

The ABLE to Work Act (S. 2702, H.R. 4795) would allow people with disabilities who are working to make annual contributions to their own ABLE account up to the Federal Poverty Level (currently $11,770) in addition to the $14,000 limit others may contribute.

Lastly, the ABLE Financial Planning Act (S. 2703, H.R. 4794) would allow families to roll over funds already in a 529 college savings account for a child with a disability into an ABLE Account.

Families who cope with disabilities support this bipartisan legislation because it allows more people to have ABLE Accounts, provides greater financial flexibility for families, and gives people with disabilities a role and sense of ownership in saving for their own futures – self-sufficiency and greatest potential indeed. Before the ABLE Act, people with disabilities could not qualify for most assistance programs if they (or their families) had more than $2,000 in assets, consigning them to perpetual poverty in order to receive any support.

The Jewish Federation of North America is asking those who can to help get this legislation passed by writing to their congressmen and senators. In Pennsylvania particularly, Senator Bob Casey is a leading sponsor, and they are looking to get Senator Pat Toomey to sign on. You can easily contact members of Congress online.

Supporting quality improvements in people’s lives is at the heart of all JF&CS programs. We support this legislation and hope you will too.


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