Disabilities Workgroup

Breaking down community boundaries as allies alongside people with disabilities. The Disabilities Workgroup supports the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Program and the Developmental Disabilities Endowment Trust Fund (DDETF) Governing Boards. The Workgroup also supports the Office of the Developmental Disabilities Ombuds, Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Behavioral Health Ombuds, and acts as a liaison to the state’s Developmental Disabilities Council.

Disabilities Workgroup

Achieving a Better Life Experience Program (ABLE)

Washington’s ABLE Savings Plan allows people with disabilities and their families to save for future expenses without losing state and federal benefits. The program launched in July 2018. The funds may be used for qualified expenses that improve the beneficiary's health, independence and/or quality of life. The Department of Commerce administers the ABLE by collaborating with The Oregon 529 Savings Network and BNY Mellon Sumday Administration. Contact the ABLE call center at 844-600-2253 for more information.

Washington ABLE is open for enrollments! Stay up to date with WA ABLE Facebook and WA ABLE Twitter.

Child using fingerpaints

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. Call 888-754-8798 ext.1 for more information.

Quarterly Statement Self-Service Access

Washington State Department of Commerce is pleased to offer online access to the Endowment Trust Fund System (ETFS) service. This system allows primary representatives to 1) view a trust account’s quarterly statements for the past three years, 2) view current account balance and 3) view recent transactions.

To set up your ETFS Account:

  1. Register for a Secure Access Washington (SAW) account
  2. Submit an ETFS Access Request Form
  3. Add the Endowment Trust Fund System Service (ETFS) under the Department of Commerce services

The Washington State Office of the Developmental Disabilities Ombuds will provide information on the 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.

The Washington State Long-Term Care Ombudsman advocates for residents of nursing homes, adult family homes, and assisted living facilities. Our purpose is to protect and promote the Resident Rights guaranteed to these residents under Federal and State law and regulations.

The Washington State Behavioral Health Ombuds can assist in resolving issues with behavioral health services in both mental health and substance use. In addition to assisting with complaints and grievances, Ombuds are also sources for community resource information and referrals for additional services.

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ABLE Presentations

ABLE Governing Board Meetings

DDETF Governing Board Meetings

Endowment Trust Fund System

Relevant State and Federal Laws


Romane Smith
Disabilities Workgroup
Desk phone: 360-725-2794
Cell phone: 564-669-4933

Kari Sample
Disabilities Workgroup
Desk phone: 360-725-3125
Cell Phone: 360-480-1818