I regret sounding overly pessimistic about the CRPD the other day. Andrea Shettle, who has been keeping the Internet up to date on the CRPD left a comment that basically encourages everyone to keep the pressure up, and remember all the legislative barriers the disability community has faced and overcome in the past.
Objections to the CRPD are, in fact, ridiculous. It’s mainly a tiny sub-group of voters who hold these beliefs about how it would affect U.S. sovereignty or home schooling. One reason they stick, though, is that the vast majority of Americans aren’t even aware that the CRPD exists. If more people knew what it was, and heard exactly what has kept it from being ratified, they would be disgusted. So, tell your friends! Bloggers, tell your readers!
Meanwhile, you can click here to contact your Senators … especially the ones who are “on the fence” at the moment, or who voted "no" in the past.
The ABLE Act:
I wrote about the ABLE Act for Shared Abilities a few months ago. The bill has been active again this week, so Shared Abilities’ CEO, Julie Steckel, reposted my piece on her Facebook page.
I also recommend reading this more recent article on the ABLE Act,l on the MSNBC website.
The bill still seems to be promoted mostly as a solution for parents of disabled children, which it is … but that’s not all it is. It is worth remembering some key aspects of the ABLE Act:
- In addition to being tax-free, ABLE Act savings accounts would allow people with disabilities to set aside savings above $2,000, up to $100,000, without losing eligibility for benefits like SSI and Medicaid.
- Savings could only be used for disability-related goals, not everyday living expenses. However, these funds would be more flexible and less restricted than Special Needs Trusts or PASS Plans.
- The law would also allow self-directing adults with disabilities to set up and manage their own accounts, without needing a third-party trustee or manager. They could accept gifts from others to build their accounts, but also deposit some of the money they earn in jobs, which would then not be counted as monthly income, helping preserve benefits eligibility. This would help reduce work “disincentives” … the common situation where people with disabilities hold back on work and promotions because they can’t afford to lose key benefits.
The ABLE Act has broad, bipartisan support in Congress. It looks like it is on a path to being passed in the House and Senate in September. In a situation like that, the most valuable thing for advocates to do is to contact their Senators and Representatives and urge them to keep up the pace. The bill seems unlikely to face opposition, but even a popular bill can fade from apathy.
Call your members of Congress. Don’t let them forget about the ABLE Act!