Breaking Down Community Boundaries as Allies alongside People with Disabilities
The Disabilities Workgroup supports the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) and the Developmental Disabilities Endowment Trust Fund (DDETF) Governing Boards in the development and enactment of strategic plans, policies, and procedures to assist individuals with a disability in saving money in order to increase self-sufficiency.
We also support the Office of the Developmental Disabilities Ombuds. This program provides an added safety net for persons with disabilities in communities throughout our state. Additionally, we act as a liaison to the state’s Developmental Disabilities Council.
Achieving a Better Life Experience Program (ABLE)
Washington ABLE program launch is delayed until Summer 2018
Washington State’s Legislature created the federal ABLE act. Washington’s ABLE program will open in 2018, and will provide life-improving opportunities for persons with disabilities and their families.
Individuals wanting to sign up for an ABLE account right away may do so through Oregon’s ABLE for ALL. This is Oregon’s program for out-of-state residents, from which Washington’s ABLE program will be modeled.
Millions of individuals with disabilities and their families depend on a wide variety of public benefits for income, health care and food and housing assistance. Eligibility for these public benefits (SSI, SNAP, Medicaid) require meeting a means or resource test that limits eligibility to individuals to report more than $2,000 in cash savings, retirement funds and other items of significant value. To remain eligible for these public benefits, an individual must remain poor. For the first time in public policy, the ABLE Act recognizes the extra and significant costs of living with a disability. ABLE allows eligible individuals and their families to establish savings accounts that will not affect their eligibility for SSI, Medicaid and other public benefits.
Qualified expenses which help improve health, independence and/or quality of life:
Basic Living Expenses
Employment Training & Support
Personal Support Services
Health, Prevention & Wellness
Funeral and Burial
For more information:
Washington ABLE Program Fact Sheet (PDF)
National ABLE Resource Center (Web)
Social Security SI 01130.740 Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Accounts
IRS Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Guidance – Section 529A (Web)
Senior Bulletin on Special Needs Trusts and ABLE (PDF)
Implications of the ABLE Act for State Medicaid Programs (PDF)
Contact Peter Tassoni, Disabilities Workgroup Manager, at 360-725-3125
Developmental Disabilities Endowment Trust Fund Program (DDETF)
The DDETF is a supplemental special needs trust program established in 1999 by the Washington State Legislature. The program enables individuals with developmental disabilities, or their families and friends, to set aside funds for future use without affecting their eligibility for government services and benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid.
Funds may be used for many services not covered by other benefits, including recreation, therapy, clothing and transportation. The Department of Commerce administers the DDETF through a contract with The Arc of Washington State, who acts as the Trust Manager.
Margaret-Lee retires from the DDETF board chair
Margaret-Lee was there at the inception of DDETF as a legislative concept with former senator McDonald. She advocated for the legislation, and served two terms as a board member appointed by Governors Locke and Gregoire. She served the last seven years as the board chair. Margaret-Lee has been a dedicated and enthusiastic force behind the successful DDETF program for nearly 20 years. Thank you!
Contact Peter Tassoni about questions on the position or the process to select a new chair.
The Office of the Developmental Disabilities Ombuds Program
The Department of Commerce administers the ODDO through a contract with Disability Rights Washington.
The ODDO will provide information on rights and responsibilities of persons receiving developmental disabilities services and/or other state services. In addition, the ODDO will recommend changes in procedures to state agencies, the Governor’s Office and the State Legislature where they pertain to the needs of persons with developmental disabilities.