Peace, Love and Pass the ABLE Act about says it. Why the Go Go Girl picture? First, it’s a shameless attempt on my part to post cute Halloween photos. More importantly it’s because the ridiculous $2,000 resource (asset) limit for individuals with disabilities is about as out of date and ridiculous as those Go Go Boots! In fact it is time for the laws to be updated. It is long since passed the time for these boots to walk my friends!
Under current legislation individuals like Rachel are penalized for trying to be responsible with resources. Families are penalized and threatened that the will lose needed government supports. So, many individuals with disabilities are relegated to disability welfare. There is a solution through the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2013 (S. 313/H.R. 647). You can click here to read all about it. The premise is that it would help people like Rachel and families like ours to be able to save money in 529 type accounts to assist with things like college, transportation, job coaches, health care, housing and much more. Much like other families are encouraged to save for their children from day one.
A tiny bit of history: The groundwork for current legislation tracks back to the 1930’s (www.ssa.gov/history) with a $1,500 resource limit implemented in 1974. The last time the asset limit was raised, to the current $2,000, was 1989. If indexed to 2010 dollars, the new resource limit would be $6,300 for an individual (http://www.cbpp.org/cms.), That is still abysmal and still relegates people to government dependence.
So the next time you think about saying something is not fair or hear someone talk about something not being fair, I want you to think about Rachel and the hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities in this country who are impacted by this. I don’t want you to think about them with pity. Rachel’s life this past week alone illustrates she should not be pitied. HOWEVER – she should be able to have hopes and dreams and save for them like other Americans without fear that she will lose some government benefits that she needs. Her family should be able to save so she can go to that college in New Mexico* or at Arkansas* or at Vanderbilt* or live in that pink house!
So today on this last day of Down Syndrome Awareness month I am asking you to go to these links and see if your United States Senators and Representative are co-sponsors of the ABLE Act of 2013.
If they aren’t I’m asking you to click on this NDSS (National Down Syndrome Society) link and follow the steps to send your elected officials a message asking them to support this legislation. If you tweet I am asking you to tweet the message Peace Love and #PasstheABLEact today. This is bipartisan, common sense legislation. And ethically it is the right thing to do. So….
Peace, Love and #PasstheABLEAct today!
* All have post-secondary programs for individuals with intellectual disabilities that and none are inexpensive. ThinkCollege.net has a more comprehensive list of programs.
Just in case your forgot, I am theSassySouthernGal!