Pass the ABLE Act
  • Petitioning U.S. Senate
  • Responded

This petition will be delivered to:

U.S. Senate
U.S. House of Representatives
New York
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
See response
Kentucky
Sen. Mitch McConnell
See response
Wisconsin-01
Rep. Paul Ryan
See response
California-17
Rep. Mike Honda
See response

Pass the ABLE Act

    1. Sara Wolff
    2. Petition by

      Sara Wolff

      Washington, DC

My name is Sara Wolff. I am a 31 year-old from Moscow, Pennsylvania, who happens to have Down syndrome but that doesn’t stop me from achieving “my” better life. I work as a law clerk and also at Keystone Community Resources in the Office of Advocacy. I am a board member of the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS). I'm calling on Congress to pass the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act (S. 313/H.R. 647), a bill that will help individuals with disabilities to save for their futures.

When the ABLE Act passes into law this year, it will change my life forever. I lost my mother this past year, Connie, to a sudden, rapid illness. With my whole life ahead of me, I need an ABLE account to plan for my future. And, I am not alone, like most individuals with disabilities, people with Down syndrome and other conditions are out living their parents.

Families, like mine, need to rest assure that they can equally care for their children and adults with disabilities, just like they can for their other children and family members. Just because I have Down syndrome, that shouldn’t hold me back from achieving my full potential in life. I can work a full-time job, be a productive member of society, and pay taxes – but because of these outdated laws placed on individuals with disabilities, we hold people like me back in life. This is the year, we call on leaders in Congress to put an end to the inequities that exist for people with disabilities by passing the ABLE Act and allowing individuals and families to save for the future and break down the barriers to employment for these individuals.

I spoke last week during the NDSS gala in New York City about my personal lobbying efforts on the ABLE Act – before a large audience, I declared that I will be standing right next to President Obama when he signs the ABLE Act into law this year!

The ABLE Act would amend Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Service Code of 1986 to create tax-free savings accounts for individuals with disabilities. The bill aims to ease financial strains faced by individuals with disabilities by making tax-free savings accounts available to cover qualified expenses such as education, housing, and transportation. The bill would supplement, but not supplant, benefits provided through private insurances, the Medicaid program, the supplemental security income program, the beneficiary’s employment, and other sources.

An ABLE 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. The legislation also contains Medicaid fraud protection against abuse and a Medicaid pay-back provision when the beneficiary passes away. It will eliminate barriers to work and saving by preventing dollars saved through ABLE accounts from counting against an individual’s eligibility for any federal benefits program. 

The ABLE Act was introduced into Congress on Feb. 13, 2013 by a bipartisan, bicameral set of Congressional Champions including Sens. Robert Casey, Jr., (D-PA) and Richard Burr (R-NC), and Reps. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), and Pete Sessions (R-TX). It currently has 325 cosponsors in the US House and 62 in the US Senate.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. ABLE Act Hearing in Congress this Week! Share this image!

      Sara Wolff
      Petition Organizer

      In just three days there will be a Congressional hearing on the ABLE Act and I'll be testifying! To help show Congress that you support passing the ABLE Act, can you share this adorable picture of Renner Wollman, a two year old boy with Down syndrome who will be helped by the ABLE Act, on Facebook?

      All you have to do is click this link:
      https://www.facebook.com/sharer/sharer.php?u=https://www.facebook.com/change.org/photos/a.10150442671098079.456443.83996318078/10153008834883079/?type=1&permPage=1

      Thank you for supporting my petition to pass the ABLE Act! I'll be sure to let you know how the hearing went!

      Sara Wolff

    2. Decision-maker Kirsten Gillibrand responds:

      Kirsten Gillibrand

      Thank you so much, Sara, for making your voice heard on this important issue, and to everyone who has signed this petition and supported Sara's campaign to urge passage of the ABLE Act.

      The ABLE Act is bipartisan legislation that would...


    3. Decision-maker Paul Ryan responds:

      Paul Ryan

      Thank you for contacting me regarding your support for H.R. 647, The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2013. You raised some good points about how this legislation could assist Americans with disabilities.

      Many of my ...


    4. Decision-maker Mitch McConnell responds:

      Mitch McConnell

      I am proud to have co-sponsored the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2013. This bipartisan legislation would assist Kentuckians with disabilities and parents who have children with disabilities.

      I have heard from paren...


    5. New York Times calls for ABLE Act's passage

      Jonathan Perri
      Deputy Campaign Director

      "Back in the old days, when Congress did crazy things like pass legislation, a sensible bill like the ABLE Act might have sailed to the president’s desk. But today, even with a long list of positives — it’s a good idea, solves a pressing problem and has lots of bipartisan support — it’s not a slam dunk, because there’s always a way in Washington to squelch good ideas, especially those that involve tweaking the tax code and spending a little money."

      READ MORE: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/14/opinion/saving-a-future-for-those-with-disabilities.html

      Saving a Future for Those With Disabilities

      Back in the old days, when Congress did crazy things like pass legislation, a sensible bill like the ABLE Act might have sailed to the president's desk.

    6. Decision-maker Mike Honda responds:

      Mike Honda

      Thank you all for taking the time to express your support for H.R.647, the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. As Sara has shown us, we need to update the laws that are meant to assist Americans with disabilities. Like everyone...


    7. Reached 200,000 signatures

    Supporters

    @SavannahGuthrie

    Jul 22, 2014

    She's amazing RT @NDSS please help Sara Wolff gain 260,000+ signatures before she testifies! https://t.co/ALN56gSahO http://t.co/nnPAz3hKo2

    Savannah Guthrie
    292k followers

    @DSAGC

    Feb 07, 2014

    If you are interested in learning more about advocacy, please check out the 'advocacy' section of our website at... http://t.co/cHKyF5SP3v

    Down Syndrome Assoc.
    2.41k followers

    @MDAnews

    Feb 06, 2014

    Help @NDSS & MDA get Congress to #PasstheABLEAct! Sign the @Change petition by @NDSS board Member Sara Wolff: http://t.co/M74olrpYuS

    MDA USA
    13.5k followers

    @NDSSBUDDYWALK

    Feb 05, 2014

    There are over 5000 signatures on the @Change petition to #PasstheABLEAct. Will you help us get to 7,500 today? http://t.co/dIAnbklRwt

    Buddy Walk
    1.86k followers

    @AAPD

    Feb 05, 2014

    Help @NDSS get Congress to #PasstheABLEAct. Sign the @Change petition by @NDSS board Member Sara Wolff http://t.co/Fh8gRmGmwq

    AAPD
    12.5k followers

    @MsJamieBrewer

    Feb 02, 2014

    Hey, I JUST DID!

    Jamie Brewer
    25.8k followers

    @NDSS

    Feb 05, 2014

    Help people with #Downsyndrome save for their futures! Sign Sara Wolff's @Change petition http://t.co/vjPNzQvUaS #PasstheABLEAct

    NDSS
    5.72k followers

    Reasons for signing

    • Terrell Fearrand RENO, NV
      • about 2 hours ago

      People with disabilities usually have higher costs that are not accounted for in tax deductions and require greater income to live.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Ann Stewart LACEY, WA
      • about 4 hours ago

      People with disabilities may not be able to hold a job. If they're able enough to add to their savings accts, why tie a tax burden to their back?

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Fran Ruh BRONX, UNITED STATES
      • about 7 hours ago

      I think this bill is a,great stepping stone

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Carole Allegro BRONX, NY
      • about 9 hours ago

      Disability funds don't begin to meet the special needs of the disabled, who are condemned to live an even more minimal life because of it. There need to be more effective efforts like the ABLE Act to help disabled people reach and maintain their potential.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Camela Fenton WEEDSPORT, NY
      • about 10 hours ago

      I make $655.00 dollars a month and have 2 kids. I didn't have a choice to be disabled and I am a single mom. We need all the brakes we can get,...... I don't know when the last time I went anywhere!!!!!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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