Tuesday, March 18, 2014

If I only could save some money....

Here’s a fact that many people without disabilities do not realize:
If you live in a country where you qualify for government subsidy (medical care, living support, food support) based on the fact that you have a disability that is preventing you from working, you also generally face a “cap” on how much money you are permitted to save before you lose those benefits. Currently, individuals receiving some types of government benefits in the US generally cannot have any more than $2,000 at any given time without forfeiting those benefits.
It’s a real catch. Those benefits are what is making it possible for you to survive. And, you also know you want to save up so you can move out of your mom’s house, live independently, purchase transportation, and complete your college degree so you can get a professional job. BUT, if your great uncle Joe passes away and you get a small inheritance that would open these doors to self-sufficiency and sustainable independence… you immediately lose your health benefits and all the other funding that allows you, in the moment, to make ends meet! Yes, someday, you’ll not need those subsidies, but gosh, now you DO!

Or, same scenario, let’s say you finally DO land a job offer. Hooray! Then, you realize: Income you earn from your new job will not possibly be enough to cover your medical care needs, the special food you need for your health maintenance, the transportation costs you will have until you can save enough for your car, plus the costs of daily life. Forget about being able to save up for completing college…

You’re in a pickle. You WANT to take the job, become a wage earner and tax payer, but you’re stuck. You will lose the very benefits that allow you to reach those goals.
What if there was some sort of “tax-free disability savings account” that would allow you to save money to pay for these items? What if you could save up to further your long term  independence without totally risking your eligibility for benefits like Social Security? What if you could retain Medicaid no matter how much you are able to save?
You might want to read more about the ABLE Act, a piece of federal legislation before the US Congress right now. Take a peek at this brief article published recently on www.disabilityscoop.com: Congress Eyeing Tax-Free Disability Savings Accounts.  Or, check out the articles published by the National Down Syndrome SocietyMDA, or others (just google “Able Act”). There are even links to a petition in support of the Able Act, and discussions about how this act might help families plan for the financial future of their child with a disability.

How might  something like this make a difference in your life?

Virtual Ability, Inc. is a non-profit corporation based in Colorado, USA. Our mission is to enable people with a wide range of disabilities by providing a supporting environment for them to enter and thrive in online virtual worlds like Second Life®. Visit www.virtualability.org

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