March is Disability Awareness Month, and a great opportunity to highlight programs assisting those in need. In Indiana, adults and children with disabilities represent nearly 20 percent of the state’s population. Through ABLE accounts, AccessABILITY and Ability Indiana, these Hoosiers can save money while keeping essential benefits, receive support in their communities and find meaningful employment.
The expenses of living with a disability can be costly and put an extra strain on finances. To help offset those costs, Hoosiers whose disability is present before the age of 26 may qualify for an Indiana ABLE account. ABLE savings accounts are untaxed and can be used to offset the costs of disability care without risking the beneficiary’s eligibility for other assistance programs, like SNAP or Medicaid. To encourage others to contribute, I co-authored House Bill 1350 to provide a tax credit to those who contribute to these accounts. Anyone can contribute to these accounts and support family members or friends. For more information on how to open an ABLE account or contribute visit, in.savewithable.com.
Many local organizations are also dedicated to supporting Hoosiers with disabilities. AccessABILITY is a disability rights organization serving eight central Indiana counties, including Boone and Hamilton. AccessABILITY’s primary goal is to provide information, training, assistance and support to parents or guardians of children with disabilities. The group works to ensure equal access in all aspects of life for these Hoosiers. By providing education, such as sign language interpreting classes, to all members of the community, the organization helps break down barriers that can impede inclusion. AccessABILITY also offers youth programs, peer support, community living operations and assistive technology services. Those who are interested can learn more at www.abilityindiana.org.
The State Use Program, also known as Ability Indiana, provides sustainable and fulfilling employment to individuals with disabilities. By serving as a central coordinating agency, Ability Indiana creates partnerships between the state and nonprofit organizations that employ Hoosiers with disabilities. The program provides services to local governments, while supporting the state’s mission of increasing social inclusion and promoting competitive wage employment for these individuals. To get involved, visit www.abilityin.org.
The inclusion of all people makes our communities closer and stronger. These are just some of the programs in Indiana helping Hoosiers with disabilities. This month, let’s all work toward inclusion and treating others the way you would like to be treated. For more information about Indiana Disability Awareness Month, visit www.indianadisabilityawareness.org.
State Rep. Donna Schaibley (R-Carmel) represents House District 24,
which includes portions of Boone and Hamilton counties.
Click here to download a high-resolution photo.