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Washington, D.C., December 3, 2014 — In response to the House of Representatives' passage of the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
"We applaud the House of Representatives for passing the ABLE Act earlier today. The bill will empower people with disabilities by removing a major obstacle to their economic security. This legislation allows people with disabilities and their families to make contributions to tax-exempt accounts and enables them to build up to $100,000 in savings to help pay for long-term expenses without risking losing government benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid. Given the high unemployment and poverty rates among people with disabilities, the need for this legislation is clear. It is especially appropriate that this bill was passed on the annual International Day of Disabled Persons, designated by the United Nations as an opportunity to 'promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities.'
Inspired by our Jewish tradition that teaches us that "you shall not insult the deaf, or place a stumbling block before the blind" (Leviticus 19:14), the Reform Movement has a long history of supporting and advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities. By passing the ABLE Act, the House of Representatives has taken a step toward removing a significant stumbling block in the path to economic security for all people with disabilities.
Rabbi Lynne Landsberg, Senior Adviser on Disability Rights to the Religious Action Center, added, 'The ABLE Act allows parents of young people with disabilities to be less nervous about their children's future and its House passage represents an important milestone in the fight to ensure economic security for people with disabilities.'
It is now essential that the ABLE Act is quickly passed by the Senate so that people with disabilities and their families can finally save money for their future without being penalized."