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THE ABLE NETWORK

AUGUST 2022

As you're aware, The Able Trust launched Inclusive Florida to help broaden employment opportunities for Floridians with disabilities. Thank you to everyone who has already participated in a listening session, completed our survey or provided feedback on the opportunities and challenges in your community. 


This week we are in Tampa, Pensacola and Marianna, meeting with local employers and employment service providers. We will incorporate this feedback into a final report to be released later this fall. As we schedule additional Listening Sessions around the state, we will send out invitations to the local providers.

We are also making plans for Disability Employment Awareness Month (DEAM) which is only a few weeks away. While The Able Trust is focused on disability employment year-round, we are gearing up to recognize this special time of year. 


As the song says, many of us rely on our "cup of ambition" as we head to work each day. We will share more about a special "cup of ambition" promotion in the next few weeks as we prepare to recognize DEAM. 


Social media will be important to reaching a broad audience about Disability Employment Awareness Month. We would love to include a photo of our partners holding a cup of coffee (or tea or your favorite morning beverage) as we roll out our “cup of ambition” campaign. Please send me your photos and we’ll be sure to feature you on our social media channels. When highlighting your own efforts on social media, be sure to use #cupofambition along with other hashtags including #inclusiveflorida #disabilityemployment #PWD and #inclusiveworkforce.


We look forward to continuing to strengthen our partnership with employment service providers across Florida, and if you have any questions, or suggestions for future newsletters or webinar topics, please feel free to reach out to me at joseph@abletrust.org.


Joey D'Souza

Vice President, External Engagement

DISAILITY EMPLOYMENT AWARENESS MONTH PROCLAMATIONS

As Disability Employment Awareness Month grows closer, we have developed a template for a Proclamation recognizing this special month.


We encourage you to engage your city or county government and ask them to proclaim October as Disability Employment Awareness Month. If you would like a template for a DEAM Proclamation that your organization can customize, click here.

PARTNER SPOTLIGHT: John Finch, Director, ABLE United

Q: What was the path like that led you to become the Director of ABLE United?


I’m very fortunate; 16 years ago, a small group leader from my church reached out to me to see if I would be interested in serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities across the state of Florida. Little did I know that taking the administrative assistant position at the Arc of Florida would lead me on a path to continue to serve one of Florida’s most underserved populations.


Q: What does ABLE United do?


ABLE United is the State of Florida’s ABLE Program that offers ABLE accounts specifically to Florida’s disability community. ABLE Accounts are tax-advantaged savings and investment accounts that generally do not count as a resource (i.e. cash) when determining eligibility for public benefit programs like SSI and Medicaid. Eligible individuals with a disability diagnosed prior to age 26 may qualify, enrollment is online, and anybody can contribute to someone’s ABLE Account – they can even save their own money.


Q: What do you feel is the largest value that ABLE United provides?


For many, it is the first time they are allowed to have more than $2,000 to their name. The flexibility allows parents to start planning now for whatever the future holds. It allows those who are working to potentially have their money go further by growing tax and be used for just about anything that will benefit them.


Q: If there is one piece of advice you would share with your colleagues in the disability employment industry, what would it be?


Please, please, please make sure that the individuals you work with who have a disability are made aware of ABLE Accounts. Consider adding this as a resource when providing benefit materials as it provides a low to no-cost way to invest. Electronic materials can be found here and printed material is free of charge and can be requested by clicking here. If you want to talk more about how we can work together, schedule a meeting with me by sending an email to john.finch@ableunited.com.  


Q: What is the most important piece of information you would want our provider partner audience to take-away from this to the clients they work with?


ABLE United is a reality. The ability to invest in the future and purchase anything that will help improve or maintain their health, independence, and quality of life is now possible with an ABLE Account. Try it now by taking 15 minutes to open an Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Account by visiting www.ableunited.com

INCENTIVES & SSI RECIPIENTS INTERESTED IN

RETURNING TO WORK

Many individuals with disabilities want to work, but often times they are concerned with losing their financial benefits or health care coverage from Social Security. However, under the Social Security Administration (SSA), SSA does offer special consideration that may allow an individual to make more income without impacting their benefit called a “subsidy” once you go over substantial gainful activity. A “subsidy” is support provided by your employer that may result in your receiving more pay than the actual value of the services the individual with a disability performs.


To view a sample subsidy letter, and if you want to learn more about subsidies, please click here.

WHAT WE'RE READING

Disability Representation on Boards Is Up, Yet Inclusion Lags

 

An increase in people with disabilities in boardrooms and corporate leadership isn’t always translating to more inclusive workplaces for rank-and-file employees.

 

Of the 415 companies that participated in the 2022 nonprofit Disability:IN’s Disability Equality Index Report, 30% have at least one senior executive who is disabled and 6% have someone who identifies as disabled serving on their corporate boards.

 

READ MORE

Your support ensures Floridians with disabilities have opportunities to gain meaningful employment.

 

To make your tax-deductible donation to The Able Trust,

click here.

Forward this newsletter to other colleagues, and business and community leaders who care about being more inclusive.

 

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We welcome the opportunity to share information about disability employment. Invite us to speak at your upcoming board meeting, conference or webinar.


Click here to fill out our Speaker Request form

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