Passage of the ABLE Act in the Florida Legislature
April 24, 2015
The Achieving a Better Life Act (ABLE Act) passed this morning in the Florida Legislature. The Arc of Florida, along with the late Representative Clay Ford was recognized from the floor of the House Chamber for their advocacy efforts in passage of the Act. Michele Poole, former Board President of The Arc of Florida, strongly advocated for this legislation on behalf of her daughter Gabrielle Poole and others throughout Florida with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
Pictured above are from left to right: John Finch, Representative Mike Hill, Dixie Sansom, Representative Ray Rodriquez the bill sponsor, Deborah Linton, Jim DeBeaurgrine and Alisha Linton as they celebrate the passage of the Act.
Congratulations Sheldon Herschman, Executive Director, The Arc Tampa Bay, Winner of this Year's Ivan Canuteson Award
March 5, 2015
The Ivan Canuteson Award is given each year to a local Arc Chapter Executive Director who demonstrates a commitment to engaging their local legislative delegation as well as the entire Florida Legislature to improve the quality of life for individuals with intellectual and other developmental disabilities.
Ivan was a local Arc Chapter Executive Director who was relentless in pursing legislative initiatives to benefit those individuals he served.
This year, The Arc of Florida is proud to present Mr. Sheldon Herschman, the Executive Director of The Arc Tampa Bay in Clearwater, Florida the Ivan Cantueson Legislative Leadership Award.
Sheldon has demonstrated a commitment to working on issues even larger than those faced by just the individuals served in his chapter. He has spent hours ferreting out the details of various issues and he, along with his board have made 11 legislative visits this year to carry the Arc platform issues.
On behalf of the membership of The Arc of Florida, thank you for all that you have done and congratulations on the Ivan Canuteson Legislative Leadership Award.
Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day 2015 Has Been Announced
March 4, 2015
The Arc of Florida has teamed with the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council to host the 2015 Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day at the Florida Capitol Thursday, March 5, 2015. The Agency for Persons with Disabilities will also participate.
Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day is an opportunity for members of the disability community to meet with legislators and advocate for issues important to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. (I/DD) Exhibitor opportunities are also available.
For more information on DD Awareness Day, exhibitor opportunities or transportation to and from the Capitol for the event, please contact Vanda Bowman at
There's No Place Like Home
January 30, 2015
Tampa, Florida (January 30, 2015) - Today the Florida Housing Finance Corporation board of directors approved $2.968 million in housing funding to local Arc programs throughout Florida to support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live in their home communities. The following Arc chapters received awards:
New Home Construction:
The Arc Nature Coast, Inc., (Hernando County) - $700,000.00
The Arc of Alachua County, Inc., (Alachua County) - $350,000.00
The Arc Gateway, Inc., (Escambia County) - $350,000.00
The Arc of Putnam County, Inc., (Putnam County) - $350,000.00
The Arc Indian River County, (Indian River County) - $350,000.00
The Arc Sunrise of Cental Florida, (Lake County) - $350,000.00
Renovations to existing homes:
The Arc Jacksonville, Inc., (Duval County) - $84,000.00
The Arc St. Lucie County, (St. Lucie County) - $84,000.00
Thank you to the Florida Legislature for appropriating this funding and to the staff and board of the Florida Housing Finance Corporation for all of your hard work. Most importantly, congratulations to the individuals who will be served in these new homes – there’s no place like home.
New Resources Available about ABLE Accounts for People with Disabilities
January 30, 2015
After many years of advocacy and bipartisan work in Congress, the Stephen Beck, Jr., Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act was signed into law on December 19, 2014. The Arc of the United States has recently released two fact sheets about the new law. The first fact sheet is an overall Summary of the ABLE Act, and the second is a more In-Depth Look at the law. These fact sheets will help better explain and educate the disability community about how this law will work. The Arc of the United States will be continually producing more materials as updates on federal regulations are released and the accounts are set up in states. Continue to check back here, as we will keep you posted about the implementation of the ABLE Act here in Florida.
The law allows eligible individuals with disabilities the ability to establish "ABLE accounts" for qualified beneficiaries that resemble the qualified tuition programs, often called "529 accounts", that have been established under that section of the tax code since 1996. The new ABLE accounts will allow more individual choice and control over spending on qualified disability expenses and limited investment decisions, while protecting eligibility for Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, and other important federal benefits for people with disabilities.