By Dan Whiting

As 2022 begins, we hear in the news many of the same things from Congress and wonder if they do anything besides talk about agendas being blocked, filibusters, government shutdowns, etc. The good news is that a whole lot of work goes on that never makes it to the national news.

Throughout the year, the NFXF remains involved in advocacy efforts for Fragile X families and all of those living with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Much of our work relies on strong partnerships with like-minded groups because we can accomplish so much more working together.

But all of our advocacy efforts hinge on your involvement because hearing from those most affected, who live in their Congressional districts, is THE TOP way to make things happen in Congress.

Several years ago, NFXF Advocates joined forces with others and were able to enact ABLE accounts, which are tax-advantaged savings accounts for disabled individuals. Thank you to all of you who helped make them a reality. Since then, you have successfully pushed for changes to increase their flexibility, and in 2021 we joined in an effort to make them even more flexible and valuable for individuals.

Here’s how.

One key advantage of ABLE accounts is that they allow individuals to do some work – a key part of their mental health – while still being eligible for means-tested programs like Medicaid. The ABLE Employment Flexibility Act (H.R. 4672) permits employers to contribute to an employee’s ABLE account instead of a 401(k) – including an employer’s match. By saving it in the ABLE account it will not adversely affect most means-tested federal benefits. 

Not only is this beneficial to those living with disabilities who aren’t able to work full-time, but it also gives employers striving to recruit, hire, train, and retain people with disabilities additional flexibility.

Increasing employment opportunities is another key advocacy goal of the NFXF. That is why we joined the CEO Commission for Disability Employment, a group made up of advocates, employers, and human resource professionals working together to increase employment opportunities through better policies and awareness among employers.

Employment is just one part of our advocacy efforts. But all of our advocacy efforts hinge on your involvement because hearing from those most affected, who live in their Congressional districts, is THE TOP way to make things happen in Congress. We will once again hold our Advocacy Day in 2022. Can you attend – either virtually or in person? Check out the details at https://fragilex.org/advocacy. More details coming next week – but if you are able to join us on March 1, please register. The community needs you!

Learn more and register for NFXF Advocacy Day 2022.

author
Author Dan Whiting

Dan Whiting
Dan is the NFXF director of community impact and has been a member of the NFXF team since 2017. He is passionate about helping individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities live better lives. He has over 23 years of experience in public policy and communications, including 11 years as a staff member for a U.S. Senator, in the Bush Administration as Chief of Staff at an agency, and as a senior strategist for communication initiatives across the DOD. He loves spending time with his family and friends and dreams of either being an artisan woodworker or comedy writer – or both at the same time.