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Tuesday, 24 April, 2012

National Disability Institute to Cohost National ABLE Act Call-In Day: April 25

National ABLE Act Call In DayTomorrow, National Disability Institute will co-host National ABLE Act Call-In Day to ask members of Congress to cosponsor this important legislation. Follow the hashtag #passtheABLEact on Twitter Wednesday for real-time updates on National ABLE Act Call-In Day.

With bipartisan support, Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL) in the U.S. House of Representatives and Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA) in the U.S. Senate reintroduced the the ABLE Act earlier this year in an effort to encourage and assist individuals with disabilities and their families to set funds aside in a tax-advantaged savings account that allows the funds to be withdrawn to cover costs of health care, employment support, housing, transportation, the purchase of technology and lifelong education. The funds will supplement but not replace benefits provided through Medicaid, Social Security and private insurance, allowing families with sons or daughters with significant disabilities a means to provide for extra costs associated with every day activities and community participation. The income earned on amounts contributed to an ABLE Account would be tax exempt and not counted as part of any asset limits for eligibility to federal programs. Learn more about the ABLE Act at our website.

As of today, the ABLE Act has 134 cosponsors in the House of Representatives and 14 in the Senate. National Disability Institute hopes these numbers will continue to rise and joins eight other co-hosts for ABLE Act Call-In Day:

  • National Down Syndrome Society
  • Autism Speaks
  • D.A.D.S. National
  • Muscular Dystrophy Association
  • National Down Syndrome Congress
  • National Fragile X Foundation
  • The Disability Opportunity Fund
  • Collaboration to Promote Self-Determination

Take Action - Easy as 1-2-3

Help us continue the push for the ABLE Act by urging your representatives to cosponsor the bill.

1. Find out if your two Senators and your Representative have signed onto the ABLE Act by clicking on the links below (under cosponsors):

House: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr3423

Senate: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/s1872

If any of your Members have NOT signed onto the ABLE Act, please call their Washington, DC offices (find out who your representatives are and how to contact their DC office).

Begin the call by introducing yourself and asking to speak with your Member’s disability legislative staffer. (Note: You may need to leave a voice mail or call back, if the disability staffer does not answer).

2. Follow this ABLE Act phone script:

Once you have the staffer on the line, open and introduce yourself with:

“Hello, I am calling to ask my [Senator/Representative] to be a cosponsor of the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act.”

I am a constituent from your [State/District] and am a self-advocate, parent, sibling, grandparent, etc. from the [insert disability] community.

Talking Points to Mentions During Your Call: 

  • The ABLE Act (S. 1872/HR 3423) currently has over 134 cosponsors in the House and 14 in the Senate. This bipartisan bill was introduced by:
    • Senators Casey (D-PA) and Richard Burr (R-NC) as S. 1872
    • Representatives Crenshaw (R-FL), McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), and Van Hollen (D-MD) as H.R. 3423
  • The bill has been endorsed by over 50 national, state, and local disability organizations.
  • This bill would utilize the 529 education saving accounts program with which thousands of Americans are already familiar. As with the existing 529 accounts, contributions to ABLE accounts would grow tax free and would be easy and inexpensive to create.
  • The ABLE Act will give individuals with disabilities and their families the ability to plan and save for their child's future just like every other American family, and help people with disabilities live full, productive lives in their communities without losing benefits provided through private insurances, the Medicaid program, the supplemental security income program, the beneficiary’s employment, and other sources.
  • The account could fund a variety of essential expenses for individuals, including medical and dental care, education, community based supports, employment training, assistive technology, housing, and transportation.
  • The ABLE Act provides individuals with disabilities the same types of flexible savings tools that all other Americans have through college savings accounts, health savings accounts, and individual retirement accounts.

If your Member is interested in signing on as a cosponsor, please have them contact:

Senate: Sen. Casey/Jennifer McCloskey (Jennifer_Mccloskey@casey.senate.gov)

House: Rep. Crenshaw/Jennifer Debes (Jennifer.Debes@mail.house.gov)

3. Let Us Know About Your Call: Please let us know about your conversation. Email info@ndi-inc.org to let us know who you spoke with and what they had to say about the bill. We can help by following up with their DC office. For more information about the ABLE Act, please use the following resources:

The ABLE Act in the 112th Congress - One Page Summary Sheet

National Disability Institute Supports Reintroduction of ABLE Act in Congress

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