Celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)
October is slipping away, but I didn't want the month to go by without mentioning National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). NDEAM is a national campaign that raises awareness of issues related to disability employment and highlights the contributions of workers with disabilities. The campaign spotlights having a diverse and inclusive workforce and hiring practices that promote diversity and inclusion practices in onboarding employees with a disability, as well as retaining those employees. To learn more about NDEAM history and to find related employment resources, click here.
We love celebrating NDEAM because we believe it's a key issue to bring to light, but also because it allows us to highlight the ABLE to Work Act, which was signed into law on December 22, 2017. The ABLE to Work Act specifies that ABLE account beneficiaries who work and earn income may contribute over the annual limit of $16,000 into their ABLE account (a savings account specifically for individuals with disabilities). The additional permissible contribution amount equals the lesser of the individual's gross income or the amount equal to the federal poverty line set for one person, currently $12,880. This additional contribution over $16,000 is only permitted if the beneficiary is not participating in his or her employer's work retirement plan. MEFA serves as the state sponsor of the Massachusetts ABLE savings plan, Attainable.
There's still much more to be done in promoting inclusion and diversity in hiring practices, but I believe that increasingly more and more companies are tackling this important issue. And both ABLE accounts and the ABLE to Work legislation demonstrate financial support for working individuals with disabilities on a federal level.
We recently highlighted an encouraging story about a young Massachusetts man with disabilities, Brian Guay, who can now save his earnings from working without losing his federal benefits thanks to the Massachusetts ABLE plan, Attainable. You can watch Brian's story here. To learn more about Attainable or to open an account, visit our webpage here.