Thanks to the efforts of two Larchmont 7th graders, U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey, whose district includes much of Westchester, has pledged support of proposed legislation designed to boost the quality of life of people with disabilities.
Jake Steinberg, who is intellectually disabled, traveled to Washington D.C. earlier this month with his sister Julia. They asked Rep. Lowey’s legislative staff to back the proposed ABLE Act. The Congresswoman agreed to cosponsor the proposed law just several days later.
If the ABLE Act becomes law, families would be able to save tax-free money that individuals with disabilities can use toward healthcare, education and other expenses without having to give up benefits provided by private insurance or Medicaid, SSI or employment.
Jake and Julia’s mom, Jacqui, says the benefits of the ABLE Act go way beyond tax relief.
“It’s allowing disabled adults to have a savings account over $2,000 without penalty of losing services, which will encourage individuals to work and earn money to allow for independence,” she says. “The system is currently not set up to encourage disabled individuals to earn over a certain amount or it will impact services which they can’t afford on their own.”
The Achieve a Better Life Experience, or ABLE, Act was reintroduced in Congress in November after time ran out before the last Congress could approve it. Progress of the legislation can be tracked at www.govtrack.us.
photo: Steinberg family