Sara Wolff is a remarkable woman whose future is in jeopardy due to archaic Federal laws that limit a disabled person’s earnings by jeopardizing their Medicaid and Social Security support.
The 31 year-old from Moscow, Pennsylvania, whose mom died unexpectedly last year, works two jobs, is a board member of the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), and is currently in the process of actively lobbying 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. And did we mention that she also happens to have Down syndrome?
Sara is an independent women who want to support herself and save money for my future, but, as the laws currently stand, if she, or others in a similar situation, saves more than $2,000, she will lose those benefits she depends on to live with her disability.
As Sara wrote in an email that was recently forwarded to us, “For me, living on my own, that means I can’t even save enough to put down rent and a security deposit on an apartment. This law keeps me dependent on other people, and that’s really scary now that my mom is gone.”
The ABLE Act is a bill in Congress that would allow people like Sara to save money for their futures through 529-like accounts that wouldn’t impact the medical care and disability benefits she needs. We read through the bill’s text and its language seems straightforward, with no unrelated attachments or “pork.”
To help in her fight, Sara started a petition on Change.org calling on Congress to pass the ABLE Act this year. We wholeheartedly support her effort in attaining this goal. We encourage everybody to click the link and sign her petition. She has already garnered more than 204,000 of her goal of 300,000 supporters. Let’s all help her get over the top.
[Editor’s Note: As of 2/18/14, Sara has gathered 226,445 signatures; just 73,555 more to go!]
Unfortunately, without a great deal more support, it appears that Sara’s efforts may be in vain. According to GovTrack.us, the bill, which was assigned to a congressional committee on February 13, 2013, has only a 2% chance of getting past committee, and a 1% chance of being enacted. [Only 11% of bills made it past committee and only about 3% were enacted in 2011–2013.] For information about the factors considered and methodology used to make this determination, read H.R. 647: ABLE Act of 2013 on govtracks.us.
We know that Sara is not alone in her fight; many of you reading this fight a similar battle every day. So let’s do everything in our power to support Sara’s effort:
- Sign Sara Wolff’s petition on Change.org calling on Congress to pass the ABLE Act this year.
- You can visit the ABLE Act page on Govtrack.us to track the progress of H.R. 647: ABLE Act of 2013 or call your Congressmen.
- Spread The Word
- Post a link on Facebook
- Tweet about it
- Pin It
- Email family, friends, and associates
- Write your Congressmen. Click to find your US Representative.
While the odds are stacked against it, with your support, it is possible to get Congress to pass the ABLE Act. As Sara optimistically stated:
“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!”