The Americans with Disabilities Act, which was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush, is about to celebrate a huge milestone – 30 years.
We sat down with Keith Seago, Boca resident and father to Marley, to discuss the importance of the ADA, but also how it set the precedent for legislation to follow.
For our readers at home, can you share a little bit about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?
When the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law, it ensured that individuals with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.
Since then, the disability community has seen an increase in access and inclusion in areas such as employment, education, communications, transportation and other aspects of public life.
How has the ADA impacted the opportunity and passage of new disability-based legislation?
The ADA made it easier to see other areas of disparity, such as the need to provide the opportunity for those with disabilities to save.
Nearly a decade ago, a group of friends, advocates, and neighbors joined around a kitchen table to discuss the importance of establishing a financial future for their children with disabilities – just as they could for their children without disabilities.
That effectively led to the passage of the ABLE Act.
What is the significance of the ABLE Act?
The ABLE Act allows states to create their own savings and investment programs for individuals with disabilities.
Before the ABLE Act, this community, specifically those on public benefit programs like Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid, were only allowed to save $2,000. If they saved $2,010, the benefits they depended on would be jeopardized.
Does Florida have their own ABLE program?
Florida’s qualified ABLE program is called ABLE United – and is managed by the Florida Prepaid College Board. It allows for the saving of private funds up to $15,000 a year.
ABLE United is a game changer for the disability community – because for many this is the first time they can save more than $2,000, as well as now also grow their savings tax-free – becoming savers and investors for the very first time.
As a Certified Financial Planner and investment consultant, I realized immediately that the ABLE United account was a “no brainer” for my daughter who has struggled with mental illness since age 15. We wanted to be able to offer enhancements in her life beyond just the basic support that comes with Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid, the ABLE United account offered the best solution for us. We are less stressed about finances and can offer Marley a better quality of life through her ABLE account.
For more information on ABLE United visit, ableunited.org