Monday, January 26, 2015

Disability, Civic and Business Leaders Tackle Unemployment at Twitter-Hosted Hackathon

Twitter and The Arc San Francisco hosted a “Community Conversations” hackathon in San Francisco, California on Thursday, January 22nd, teaming up with city Supervisors, business leaders and advocates to improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar (center, wearing tie) at a discussion session to improve job opportunities for people with disabilities.

Over 80 participants attended the lively one-day event held at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters, working together to tackle some of the biggest barriers to more jobs by sharing idea and resources.

Aaron Rothman, Recruiting Manager Engineering, Janet Van Huysse, VP Human Resources and Caroline Barlerin, Head of Community Outreach and Philanthropy, were all on hand to lend support and speak as employers with experience hiring people with disabilities.

“It’s important for us to open up our network and share our success with clients of The Arc,” said Mr. Rothman.
"More companies need to be involved in this effort," said Ms. Van Huysse.
Janet Van Huysse, Twitter VP Human Resources, commits her team to reaching out to other companies who can benefit from hiring people with developmental disabilities.
“California ranks last in the nation in employment for people with disabilities,” said The Arc’s Kristen Pedersen, Director of Employment. “There are thousands of people with disabilities who can work, who want to work and enjoy the dignity of participating in the economy and contributing to our City. With today’s event, we’re creating new partnerships and solutions that will put more people in jobs and make a powerful difference in all our lives.”

Get involved with The Arc San Francisco! We need volunteers in our classes, our computer lab, our job club, kitchens and events. Visit us at

The Community Conversations event was sponsored by California Consortium for Youth, a project of UCLA’s Tarjan Center, with local support provided by The Arc San Francisco, @thearcsf, a learning and service center providing education, vocation and life enrichment opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities.

-Meredith Manning, Director of Communications, The Arc San Francisco

Twitter: @thearcsf

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

ABLE Act is Now Law

On Friday, December 19, 2014, President Obama signed the ABLE Act into law. It was part of a larger bill of end of year tax provisions approved by Congress.

The Arc, the nation’s largest organization for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), released the following statement after the Achieving a Better Life Act (ABLE Act) was approved.

“While the legislation was narrowed due to the constraints from the cost analysis, the approved bill will provide a vehicle for some families and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to save for the future, depending on their own circumstances.  The Arc will continue to work with the leadership and chief sponsors in Congress to expand this program in the future to ensure that everyone in need can get the maximum benefit from this legislation. We remain disappointed that certain pay-fors remain in the bill,” said Peter V. Berns, CEO of The Arc.

The ABLE Act changes the tax code to allow for tax advantaged savings accounts for individuals with disabilities for certain expenses, like education, housing, and transportation.  Similar to existing “Section 529” education savings accounts, ABLE accounts let families save for disability-related expenses on behalf of qualified beneficiaries with disabilities that will supplement, but not replace, benefits provided through the Medicaid program, the Supplemental Security Income program, the beneficiary’s employment, and other sources. 

If properly managed, funds in the ABLE accounts will not jeopardize eligibility for critical federal benefits. With full understanding of its features, individuals and families could use the ABLE accounts as another tool in planning for the lifetime needs of an individual with long term disabilities. The version of the bill that was signed into law includes age limitations and a cap on contributions, added in July by the Committee on Ways and Means to reduce the costs of the bill. 

10 Things You Need to Know About the ABLE Act