Congress Passes ABLE Act: Major Victory for Persons with Disabilities and Their Families

Last night, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014 by a vote of 76 to 16. First introduced in 2006, and subsequent sessions of Congress, the ABLE Act will allow people with disabilities (with an age of onset up to 26 years old) and their families the opportunity to create a tax-exempt savings account that can be used for maintaining health, independence and quality of life.

To learn more about the ABLE Act and ABLE Accounts, please read our full press release.

Resources for Real Economic Impact

Benefits 

DEI Initiative Creates Successful Employment Outcomes for Youth and Adults with Disabilities

The Disability Employment Initiative (DEI) is the first U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) initiative to incorporate key strategies within the workforce system, such as asset development and Employment Network operations, under Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Ticket to Work program, to enhance the economic self-sufficiency of youth and adults with disabilities. As a result of the DEI state projects implementing Workforce ENs, grantees have recognized the importance of providing SSA disability benefits and Work Incentive counseling to facilitate successful employment outcomes. Since 2010, more than half of the DEI-funded projects have certified some or all of their DRCs with seven of the projects making this commitment in 2014 (about 75 DRCs/local project staff in total!).

Employment 

The LEAD Center Builds Key Partnerships between CILs and AJCs

The LEAD Center worked with five Centers for Independent Living (CILs) to improve the employment of individuals with disabilities by building partnerships between the CIL and their local American Job Center (AJC). The individuals supported by the participating CILs overcame multiple barriers to employment to secure both full-time and part-time jobs in a range of fields. To learn more about its work, visit the LEAD Center website.

Taxes and Tax Preparation 

MyFreeTaxes Assists More Than 200,000 Tax Filers in 2014

The MyFreeTaxes Partnership is a collaborative national initiative of Goodwill Industries International, United Way Worldwide and NDI, sponsored by the Walmart Foundation, that has helped millions of Americans increase their economic self-sufficiency by providing access to free online and in-person federal and state tax preparation and filing. In 2013, the MyFreeTaxes Partnership saved more than 1.6 million households - 13% persons with disabilities and 16% from the military community - an estimated $340 million in tax preparation and filing fees and more than $622 million in tax credits. Partners interested in learning more about how to become involved in marketing and outreach of the initiative may register on the MyFreeTaxes website.

Financial Education 

More than 200 Professionals Trained in NDI Financial Literacy Curriculum

This year more than 200 professionals, representing the disability and financial services communities, were trained on how to use NDI’s curriculum, “Building Assets & Promoting Choice and Community Participation for People with Disabilities.”  The six module curriculum introduced professionals on how to advance the economic self-sufficiency of clients they support by incorporating key strategies into their programs: financial literacy, free tax preparation, work supports and asset development strategies.

Asset Development 

NDI Hosts Five Asset Development Summits in Florida

In collaboration with five American Job Centers in the state of Florida, NDI hosted five community summits in 2014 to advance the economic self-sufficiency of persons with disabilities in Winter Haven, Palm Beach, Panama City, St. Petersburg and Ft. Lauderdale. The summits brought together 220 representatives from the disability and asset building/financial services communities; key findings included the need for increased networking opportunities to strengthen collaboration, resource mapping tools and funding opportunities that provide financial capability services to clients with and without disabilities. To learn more about the outcomes of the community summits, contact Michael Roush at mroush@ndi-inc.org.

Public Policy 

Ready, Willing and ABLE

Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014 is groundbreaking legislation that will help improve the financial security of individuals with disabilities and their families. With overwhelming bipartisan support, the Act was passed by Congress this week and is expected to be signed into law by President Obama in the coming days. The Act amends the Internal Revenue Service code to establish tax-exempt savings accounts—called ABLE Accounts—to assist an individual with a disability, or a family raising a child with a disability, in building an account to pay for qualified expenses such as those related to higher education, housing, transportation, employment, health and wellness, technology and other personal support services.

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Issue 11 - Dec 2014 

In This Issue

Congress Passes ABLE Act: Major Victory for Persons with Disabilities and Their Families

Benefits: DEI Initiative Creates Successful Employment Outcomes for Youth and Adults with Disabilities

Employment: The LEAD Center Builds Key Partnerships between CILs and AJCs

Tax Preparation: MyFreeTaxes Assists More Than 200,000 Tax Filers in 2014

Financial Education: More than 200 Professionals Trained in NDI Financial Literacy Curriculum

Asset Development: NDI Hosts Five Asset Development Summits in Florida

Public Policy: Ready, Willing and ABLE

Happy Holidays:  Happy Holidays from NDI

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