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The Arc Action alert – HELP PASS THE ABLE ACT IN THIS CONGRESS!

Posted Jul 08 2010 1:48pm

This is an action alert for citizens of the United States. The Arc is gathering support for a bill, the ABLE act, which would allow people to make tax deductible contributions to a savings account which could be used for them to use for “qualified expenses”. Here is the action alert:

HELP PASS THE ABLE ACT IN THIS CONGRESS!

Take Action!
Contact Your Representatives to Convene a Hearing and Vote on the ABLE Act

The Arc and UCP strongly endorse the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE) of 2009 (S. 493/H.R. 1205).

Background

The ABLE Act will give individuals with disabilities and their families the ability to save for their child’s future just like every other American family, and help people with disabilities live full, productive lives in their communities. The ABLE Act will allow individuals with disabilities a tax deduction, up to $2,000 per year, for contributions to an “ABLE account.” The account could fund a variety of essential expenses including medical and dental care, education, community based supports, employment training, assistive technology, housing, and transportation.

The legislation continues to have widespread, bipartisan support. However, even though the House bill now has 180 co-sponsors and the Senate bill has 21 cosponsors, the bills have not advanced since they were introduced more than a year ago.

The time to pass this bill is now – Please contact your Representatives today to encourage them to convene a hearing and vote on the ABLE Act! Once the House votes, the Senate should follow. If we don’t get the ABLE act passed by the end of the year, we will have to start all over again next year.

Status of the Bills

House bill (H.R. 1205)
2/26/2009 – Introduced and referred to the Committee on Ways and Means and Committee on Energy and Commerce

Senate bill (S. 493)
2/26/2009 – Introduced and referred to the Committee on Finance

Take Action

Please call your Representative’s home district office during the Independence Day recess (July 2-12). Click on the “Take Action” link and enter your zip code to get the home district office number.

What to say:

  • May I please speak to the staff member who covers disability issues?
  • I am calling to urge Representative ____________ to pass the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE) of 2009 (HR 1205) this year.
  • I would like to request that Representative ___________:
  • ask Ways and Means Chairman Levin to convene a hearing on the bill
  • encourage House leadership to schedule a vote on the bill this Congress.

In case you are wondering what a “qualified expense” would be, below is the text from the House bill on what constitutes a “qualified expense”

`(i) EDUCATION- Expenses for education, including tuition for preschool thru post-secondary education, books, supplies, and educational materials related to such education, tutors, and special education services.

`(ii) HOUSING- Expenses for housing, including rent, mortgage payments, home improvements and modifications, maintenance and repairs, real property taxes, and utility charges.

`(iii) TRANSPORTATION- Expenses for transportation, including the use of mass transit, the purchase or modification of vehicles, and moving expenses.

`(iv) EMPLOYMENT SUPPORT- Expenses related to obtaining and maintaining employment, including job-related training, assistive technology, and personal assistance supports.

`(v) HEALTH, PREVENTION, AND WELLNESS- Expenses for the health and wellness, including premiums for health insurance, medical, vision, and dental expenses, habilitation and rehabilitation services, durable medical equipment, therapy, respite care, long term services and supports, and nutritional management.

`(vi) LIFE NECESSITIES- Expenses for life necessities, including clothing, activities which are religious, cultural, or recreational, supplies and equipment for personal care, community-based supports, communication services and devices, adaptive equipment, assistive technology, personal assistance supports, financial management and administrative services, expenses for oversight, monitoring, or advocacy, funeral and burial expenses.

`(vii) OTHER APPROVED EXPENSES- Any other expenses which are approved by the Secretary under regulations and consistent with the purposes of this section.

`(viii) ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY AND PERSONAL SUPPORT SERVICES- Expenses for assistive technology and personal support with respect to any item described in clauses (i) through (vii).

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