Monday, July 21, 2014

Achieving a Better Life Exeperience (ABLE) Advances in the 113th Congress

from the NDSS and Digital Journal:
Subcommittee on taxation and IRS Oversight of the US Senate Committe on Finance Will Convene a Congressional Hearing on NDSS' Top Legislative Priority, #PasstheABLEact, and NDSS Board Member Sara Wolff Set to Testify
WASHINGTON, July 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Sara Wolff, a board member and self-advocate from the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), will testify before the Subcommittee on Taxation and IRS Oversight of the US Senate Committee on Finance on the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act (S. 313/H.R. 647). The hearing, "Saving for an Uncertain Future: How the ABLE Act can Help People with Disabilities and their Families", will take place on Wednesday, July 23, 2014, at 10 a.m., in 215 Dirksen Senate Office Building.
Wolff is a 31-year-old young woman with Down syndrome from Moscow, Pennsylvania, and has been a board member of NDSS since 2007. Earlier this year, Wolff authored a petition calling on members of Congress to pass the ABLE Act in the 113th Congress. Wolff's petition has earned the support of over 250,000 people around the country.
In addition to Wolff, the Congressional panel will also include Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Member of Congress (R-Washington), U.S. House of Representatives, Spokane, Washington and mother to Cole, who happens to have Down syndrome; Robert D'Amelio, Parent and Advocate, Autism Speaks, Charlotte, North Carolina; and Chase Alston Phillips, Financial Advisor, Alexandria, Virginia.
"Just because I have Down syndrome, that shouldn't hold me back from achieving my full potential in life," Sara Wolff said. "I can work a full-time job, be a productive member of society, and pay taxes – but because of these outdated laws placed on individuals with disabilities, we hold people like me back in life. It's time that Congress act and pass the ABLE Act."
The ABLE Act would amend Section 529 of the IRS 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.
"As the mom of a son with Down syndrome, I see firsthand how federal policies limit -- not expand -- opportunities for those with disabilities.  And the ABLE Act will change that.  It will make sure that Cole -- and the millions like him who have special needs -- will be able to save for their futures and reach their full potential.  I am proud to stand beside my colleagues in Congress and those in the disability community as we advance this crucial legislation," said Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Washington), an ABLE Act Champion.
The ABLE Act is championed by Senators Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania) and Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) and McMorris Rodgers' colleagues, Representatives Ander Crenshaw (R-Florida), Pete Sessions (R-Texas), and Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland).
"There is no other bill in the U.S. Congress that has as much bipartisan, bicameral support as the ABLE Act. We have 74 U.S. Senators, including Leaders Harry Reid (D-Nevada) andMitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), and 365 U.S. Representatives that are cosponsoring this bill," NDSS Vice President of Advocacy and Affiliate Relations Sara Hart Weir said. "Passing this landmark legislation will go a long way to help people with Down syndrome and other disabilities realize and achieve their own hopes, dreams and aspirations."
About NDSS
The National Down Syndrome Society is a nonprofit organization representing the more than 400,000 Americans with Down syndrome. The mission of NDSS is to be the national advocate for the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome. NDSS envisions a world in which all people with Down syndrome have the opportunity enhance their quality of life, realize their life aspirations, and become valued members of a welcoming community.
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SOURCE National Down Syndrome Society
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