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
Sen. Mitch McConnell
See response
Rep. Paul Ryan
See response
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 I can work a full-time job, be a productive member of society, and pay taxes – but because of these outdated laws placed on individuals with disabilities, we hold people like me back in life.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


    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:

      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:

      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



    Jul 22, 2014

    She's amazing RT @NDSS please help Sara Wolff gain 260,000+ signatures before she testifies!

    Savannah Guthrie


    Feb 07, 2014

    If you are interested in learning more about advocacy, please check out the 'advocacy' section of our website at...

    Down Syndrome Assoc.


    Feb 06, 2014

    Help @NDSS & MDA get Congress to #PasstheABLEAct! Sign the @Change petition by @NDSS board Member Sara Wolff:



    Feb 05, 2014

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

    Buddy Walk


    Feb 05, 2014

    Help @NDSS get Congress to #PasstheABLEAct. Sign the @Change petition by @NDSS board Member Sara Wolff



    Feb 02, 2014

    Hey, I JUST DID!

    Jamie Brewer


    Feb 05, 2014

    Help people with #Downsyndrome save for their futures! Sign Sara Wolff's @Change petition #PasstheABLEAct


    Reasons for signing

    • Clare Cizek SAINT PAUL, MN
      • about 2 hours ago

      My daughter with a severe TBI would

      hope to be able to work someday even though she may never earn enough to live independently she would hope to try without losing benefits.

    • Michelle Ludlow VANCOUVER, WA
      • about 3 hours ago

      Because my kids deserve to have a savings just like everyone else. Don't punish them for being disabled.

    • Emily Fiala AUSTRALIA
      • about 4 hours ago

      Because I'm a human being.

      • about 5 hours ago

      I have a son with Down Syndrome. He is 14 years old and we are already worried about his financial future. The Able Act will give all persons with disabilities the right to save for the future just as any other person. It would give parents peace of mind knowing their child can work full-time and enjoy all of the benefits and joy of contributing to society through work without the worry of losing any of their disability benefits, Please support the ABLE Act.

    • Sarah Martin ODESSA, TX
      • about 5 hours ago

      At the age of 20 months my youngest daughter had an accident where she sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury which resulted in a Stroke and Epilepsy. She has had 4 surgeries on her brain and skull and several other surgeries plus we expect to see more surgeries in the future. We are blessed and thankful that she is able to get SSI to help with her medical expenses because I don't know where we would be if she didn't have those benefits. We recently had to sell our home which was due to a job change and are unable to purchase a new home because we can not save up money. We don't want to cheat the system but we would like to have the chance to own our own home again, save money for our daughters educations, etc. Someday our cars will need to be replaced and because our daughters specialists live between 2 and 6 hours away we spend a lot of time on the road to see a doctor. This could be so beneficial to so many families who are already struggling.


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