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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

NCIL Policy on Employment and Economic Equity: Overview

Welder with a disability workingCongress: Amend the Current Law for Baby Boomers with Jobs!

NCIL maintains its strong requests to Congress to eliminate the age 65 limit for Medicaid Buy-In eligibility for workers as currently found in the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act (PL 106-170). We know many workers with a disability need to retain Medicaid to pay for personal assistance services, for example, which in turn help pay for their continued independence, integration, and economic and community contributions.

NCIL requests Congress to align this law with the same Medicaid Buy-In language in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, allowing for continued Medicaid Buy-In eligibility for workers with a disability age 65 and older. The two laws need to read as one on this matter to support all workers with disabilities.

Congress: Create An Equal Playing Field and Remove Barriers to Employment for Older Workers!

NCIL also asks Congress to change Social Security rules and regulations (POMS) to eliminate earnings limitations for CDB/childhood disability beneficiaries (who draw benefits attributable to another’s account) upon reaching full Social Security retirement age (currently 66) to equate with rules of SSDI beneficiaries who have established their own account. This would eliminate such work disincentives as Substantial Gainful Employment (SGA) requirements for this group, encouraging all aging workers to continue to work if they so choose.

The ABLE Act: Now More Than Ever!

In 2017, the ABLE Act still continues to be an important policy priority for NCIL! Over 45 states have opted to enable ABLE legislation with many (18 at last count with more to come) actively launching programs. Other states are having ABLE legislation heard in their own statehouses in 2017.

As ABLE gains momentum nationwide, NCIL still implores Congress to consider:

  • The ABLE to Work Act, which builds on the success of the ABLE Act by making it possible for individuals with disabilities to increase their ABLE accounts in various ways. This will encourage individuals to work without impacting their federal benefits or current ABLE accounts. This legislation would allow individuals and families to save more money in an ABLE account if the beneficiary works and earns income.
  • The ABLE Age Adjustment Act would raise the age limit for eligibility for ABLE accounts to individuals disabled before age 46. The current legislation limit is age 26.
  • The ABLE Financial Planning Act would allow families to rollover savings from a Section 529 college savings plan to an ABLE account.

Subminimum Wages: The TIME Act

In 2017, the Transitioning to Integrated and Meaningful Employment (TIME) Act still commands considerable interest by NCIL, Congress, DOL, and a myriad of advocacy groups across the nation. In the wake of the 114th Congress, as of July 2016, there were 69 sponsors of the TIME Act, including 16 who signed in 2016.

What 2017 will bring for TIME remains to be seen, though NCIL and the Act continue to direct the Secretary of Labor to discontinue issuing to any new profit, non-profit, or governmental entity special wage certificates (which permit individuals with disabilities, including individuals employed in agriculture, to be paid at lower than minimum wages). This bill requires a three-year phase-out of all certificates.

The CareerACCESS Policy Initiative

NCIL strongly supports the Congressional funding needed now to allow at least two states to pilot CareerACCESS projects by 2018 for young adults with a disability building careers. The three states to date with the strongest NCIL member interest in launching the pilot projects are Vermont, Michigan, and Massachusetts. Visit www.ourcareeraccess.org for more information.

NCIL, its members, and the Americans we work with and for can move closer to the middle class and true economic integration with these economic policies and laws in place!

Updated: March 23, 2017.