Saturday, February 22, 2014

Promising time for the ABLE Act!

This just might be THE year for the ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) Act!   If you have followed this blog for some time you have read my pleas for you to contact your Senators and Congressmen about it, I have even handed out fliers about it at demonstrations I organize each year.  I thank you for your continued support, this is an important piece of legislation for all disabled people!

Congress Eyeing Tax-Free Disability Savings Accounts

February 21, 2014, By Michelle Diament, Disability Scoop


With significant public backing and support in Congress, advocates say federal lawmakers are poised to consider a major change to the money-saving abilities of those with disabilities.

Just one hurdle remains before Congress is expected to take up the Achieving a Better Life Experience, or ABLE, Act.

The bill — which has lingered since at least 2009 — would establish special accounts to allow people with disabilities to save up to $100,000 without risking their eligibility for benefits like Social Security. What’s more, under the plan, individuals could retain Medicaid no matter how much is deposited.

But before Congress can move forward, lawmakers are waiting for the Congressional Budget Office to weigh in with an estimate of what the bill would cost the government if it’s implemented. Once that figure is released — which could happen any day now — Congress is expected to act swiftly with advocates hoping for a floor vote in early spring.

“The ABLE Act is a must-pass piece of legislation for this Congress,” said U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., who is a member of the House leadership and a co-sponsor of the bill, in a statement to Disability Scoop.

Modeled after the popular 529 college savings plans, the ABLE Act would allow individuals with disabilities to open a special account at any financial institution to pay for education, health care, transportation, housing and other expenses. Interest earned on savings within the accounts would be tax-free.

The bill is backed by nearly every national disability advocacy group and has 63 co-sponsors in the U.S. Senate and 332 in the U.S. House of Representatives representing both political parties. An online petition ( favoring the act has generated more than 230,000 signatures.

“The fact that only six bills in all of Congress have this many co-sponsors is a sign of the overwhelming support for this effort to make a major difference in the lives of these families,” the measure’s chief sponsor, Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., said in December.

Advocates say it’s about more than just money for those with disabilities and their families. At present, individuals often cannot have more than $2,000 at any given time without forfeiting government benefits. As a result, many people with disabilities decline to seek out paid employment simply because they don’t want to risk losing access to Medicaid and other programs.

“It’s really about self-determination,” said Sara Weir, vice president of the National Down Syndrome Society.

If the ABLE Act passes, Weir said, “individuals can go out and get a job and pay for their own expenses and not be so dependent on the federal government for everything.”


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Of Love and Fear

In the following post I have used red to symbolize all things positive and red is associated with love.  The color black is commonly associated with fear and hate, as it will be now, this is not simple text, but a statement of the loathing and distain I feel for Autism Speaks and all of their horrible rhetoric at the expense of me and all the members of my community.

Of Love and Fear
To be wrapped in a warm embrace, the kind that envelops you with strength of purpose pressing all of your worries and fear away.
To be made to cower when something horrible appears out of the mist like a wraith, paralyzed with fear, chilled with sweat shivering in a darkened corner.
To let the sun warm your face, eyes closed as you stand in the front yard and listen to the birds.  This warmth moves down to your core and hugs you from within.
To fall through the ice of a frozen lake, the chilling water freezing you down to the core, terror running through your mind as you try to get out, you cry out, but no one hears, the loneliness deepens fear.
Knowing that you are truly not alone, no matter how hard things seem and overwhelming, that you do not have to run and hide, that even via the written word sent across the net a virtual hug can be shared between two souls and the light of hope and love can warm you from within.  This is what Autistic Community means, to never be alone again when one needs another, with the click of a mouse you are there.
Love is what we need not fear, no matter how hard you push your hate and fear laced propaganda out against us, the harder we will push back with love.  Acceptance is LOVE.  Love beats fear every time, remember that.