ABLE: The Big Picture

ABLE: The Big Picture


pdf File Webinar Slides (548KB) [download]

Archived Recording
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Thursday, October 18, 2018
1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Location: Webinar

Webinar Description

This webinar will use the ABLE Act as an ongoing case study in disability policy, from legislation development and passage to implementation, evaluation, and revision. It will also help trainees and practicing professionals feel more confident in their abilities to advocate for ABLE accounts and other structural solutions that support positive outcomes for their patients/clients across the lifespan

Participants will learn about:

  • The challenges that led to the creation and passage of the ABLE Act;
  • The intended purpose of ABLE accounts;
  • How the ABLE Act was conceived, developed, and passed in the U.S. Congress;
  • Examples of state-level implementation successes and obstacles;
  • Supporting patients/clients if your state doesn't offer a program;
  • Efforts to address obstacles to successful implementation through additional legislation;
  • What is at stake if ABLE accounts go underutilized; and 
  • Criticism that ABLE programs benefit wealthy families and doesn't necessarily address some of the real issues related to disability and poverty.


JJ Hanley is Director of Illinois ABLE for State Treasurer Michael Frerichs, where she leads a 16--state, bi-partisan alliance that offers "A Better Life Experience" ABLE accounts to people with disabilities in Illinois and across the country. Her career evolved from financial securities trader to disability parent advocate and professional, focused on building enterprises that foster economic independence, community participation and employment of people with disabilities. JJ produced the national, award-winning PBS documentary, "Refrigerator Mothers," about autism. She founded, a site for businesses to reach the disability marketplace, whose blog ranks in the top 25 disability blogs. She founded the Disability Awareness Players, training 7000+ staff of corporations and businesses in appropriate etiquette for engaging with employees and customers with disabilities. She created Internet workplace skills training programs for people with disabilities and a public transportation skills-training program, reaching more than 4000+ students and teachers in area schools. JJ co-chairs the Banking Committee of the Chicago Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities Financial Advisory Council for the Empowerment of People with Disabilities (FACED) She serves on the steering committee for Equip for Equality's Illinois ADA Project and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities.


Andrew (Drew) Dziedzic works for Missouri State Treasurer Eric Schmitt as his Chief of Staff. Drew advises the Treasurer on his agenda, and he assists the Treasurer with his service on several state boards and commissions. Drew is the Treasurer Schmitt's primary contact on MO ABLE, Missouri's savings program for individuals with disabilities. Since its launch, over 700 Missourians with disabilities have signed up to begin saving for a better life. Before the Treasurer's Office, Drew previously worked for the Department of Health and Human Services, as a Policy Analyst for the Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources.