O'Malley & Langan Law Clerk Sara Wolff, who testified before Congress in July, recently was featured on Al Jazeera America's flagship television program "America Tonight" in a segment titled "Keeping the disabled poor." The program aired Sept. 8, 2014.
Sara, who has Down syndrome, has been advocating for a new bill called the ABLE Act, short for the Achieving a Better Life Experience. If passed by Congress, the Act would allow people with long-term disabilities, including those on the autism spectrum or with Down syndrome, to save money in a tax shelter solely for important costs like housing and education. They would still be able to qualify for Medicaid and government services.
Wolff works part-time. The law places a cap on the amount she can earn per month ($700) and still collect government benefits. The problem with current laws, she says, is that people with disabilities cannot save enough for the future. Even if they collect disability benefits, they typically struggle to have enough money for housing, education and other expenses. At O'Malley & Langan Law Offices, we help people pursue Social Security disability benefits and Supplemental Security Income benefits. Call a Pennsylvania disability attorney at 1-866-326-0100 for more information.
Sara Wolff Is on a Mission to Help People with Disabilities
In promoting its TV program, Al Jazeera described Sara as someone who "is smart, driven and works two part-time jobs. She also has Down syndrome and can't do something that every American without a disability has the right to do: save for the future. If she earns more than $700 a month or saves more than $2,000 in assets, she could lose her disability benefits and health insurance. But Wolff is on a mission to have Congress fix this longstanding disparity for millions of people with disabilities."
Sara created an online petition in support of the ABLE Act. On the website change.org, she describes why she feels so strongly about passing the ABLE Act. "With my whole life ahead of me, I need an ABLE account to plan for my future. And, I am not alone. Like most individuals with disabilities, people with Down syndrome and other conditions are outliving their parents."
She noted that the outdated laws placed on individuals with disabilities "hold people like me back in life."
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr., D-Pennsylvania, who serves as the bill's lead sponsor, said in an msnbc.com article that he is hopeful the measure will pass. "This is one where there's such support and such momentum going it's going to be very hard for anyone to hold it up."
If you need help with a disability claim, call 1-866-326-0100 or visit bviomalleydev.wpengine.com for a free consultation.