Massachusetts Launches ABLE Program

The ABLE National Resource Center, managed by National Disability Institute (NDI), is excited to congratulate the State of Massachusetts on becoming the 21st state to launch an ABLE program. The Massachusetts ABLE program, named The Attainable Savings Plan, will be established and maintained by the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA) and managed by Fidelity Investments. The Attainable Plan will be available to individuals with disabilities nationwide.

The MA ABLE program allows qualified individuals with disabilities to save up to $14,000 a year in an ABLE account without jeopardizing their eligibility for federally-funded means-tested benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. The funds in the account can be used for disability-related expenses that assist the beneficiary in increasing and/or maintaining his or her health, independence or quality of life.

Millions of individuals with disabilities and their families are often relegated to a life of poverty as a result of not being allowed to build even the most modest levels of resources. Individuals receiving supports through Social Security, Medicaid and other publicly-funded programs are often disqualified from those supports if they have more than $2,000 worth of resources or assets. Now, with the launch of ABLE programs nationwide, individuals with disabilities and their families will be able to take a step to better secure their financial futures and to help offset the often significant financial challenges that can accompany living with a disability.

Like the other ABLE programs across the country, the MA ABLE program focuses efforts to ensure minimal costs associated with establishing and maintaining an ABLE account (which can be done online). The MA ABLE program has an annual account fee of $30, charged on a semi-annual basis. Additionally, the program has an annual asset-based fee of 0.15%.

In addition to MA ABLE, there are 20 other states that have launched ABLE programs: Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia. Most of these ABLE programs are open to eligible individuals nationwide. Please visit for details about these programs.

For more information on the MA ABLE program and how to enroll, please visit

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LibraryLyna for Creating an Accessible Classroom

LibraryLyna offers 3D print resources for teachers of the blind and visually impaired

Gorgeous 3D print models of math and science concepts are available to download and create for an accessible classroom. The screen reader accessible site provides a library of 3D print designs organized into categories: biology, chemistry, math, and physics.

Print animals, elements, shapes, a multiplications table and more. The site includes help for getting started with 3D printing. There’s also page for requesting custom models to aid your curriculum.

Learn more (links open in a new tab):
The Diagram Center is offering a Webinar on Dec. 3rd: “Building an Accessible Classroom with 3D Printing.”
Visit LibraryLyna
Read more about LibraryLyna at this 3D page

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Charlie Brown Thanksgiving App on Sale (and Accessible!)

Here’s some fun for that road trip to Grandma’s house… or condo. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving–A Peanuts Interactive Classic for All Ages is on sale for a limited time ($2.99 from $4.99). This is an iOS ebook app that is fully animated and engaging according to the good folks at BridgingApps (a GREAT tool for learning about apps for all abilities). Here’s some of what they have to say:

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is a fun ebook app with hundreds of touchable animations, illustrations and graphics. This Common Core aligned ebook contains the original dialogue, sound effects and music from the 1973 classic that everyone loves. Follow Charlie Brown and the Peanut Gang as they discover the meaning of Thanksgiving. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is a delightfully themed app to be enjoyed by users of all ages and abilities.

Learn more and download from this BridgingApps webpage (opens in a new window).

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MassHealth Disability Re-Application Deadline Extended

According to MassHealth, many people with disabilities have not responded to a recent notice about reapplying for services. As result, MassHealth will be sending a reminder letter to those individuals who have not yet responded. MassHealth reports:

Individuals MUST submit a new application by October 16th, 2015 or they will lose MassHealth benefits.

The reminder notices includes information on the modes by which members can apply for coverage. It is quickest to apply for coverage online at or by calling MassHealth Customer Service at 1-800-841-2900 and following the prompts for submitting an application. The notice will also instruct the location of their closest MassHealth Enrollment Center.

As a reminder, not all disabled individuals were required to renew their benefits. Members who are in long term nursing facilities, home and community-based waivers, Kalleigh Mulligan, over age 65 will continue to get renewal forms on their annual due date. They are not part of this renewal group and should respond to any requests to renew in the normal way.

Below is the list of disabled individuals who were asked to apply and those who DO NOT need to reapply.


  • Most children with a disability, including those receiving MassHealth Standard and MassHealth CommonHealth benefits.
  • Adults with a disability receiving MassHealth Standard (whose income is < 133% FPL). (Adults with a disability receiving MassHealth CommonHealth benefits are not subject to annual review at this time )
  • Adults with a disability who were previously eligible for SSI benefits, but are no longer receiving SSI.


  • Individuals who receive cash SSI or TAFDC benefits. MassHealth benefits come automatically with these cash benefits based on eligibility determinations made by those programs. These members will not get any notices from MassHealth as long as they receive these cash benefits.
  • Have Social Security as their sole source of income (this includes SSDI and RSDI). These individuals are eligible for Administrative Review and were sent a notice from MassHealth that their annual review was done automatically. They do not need to take action unless they have a change in circumstances that they need to report (new job, new family member, new health insurance coverage, etc.).
  • Meet MassHealth income criteria (childless adults <133% FPL or families < 150% FPL) and are receiving SNAP (Food Stamp) benefits. These members were sent a notice from MassHealth that their annual review was done automatically. They do not need to take action unless they have a change in circumstances that they need to report (new job, new family member, new health insurance coverage, etc.).
  • Households where members have completed a paper application after October 15, 2014 or an online application after November 15, 2014.
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Volunteers to Participate in Wearable Navigation Experiment

Recruitment of Volunteers to Participate in Wearable Navigation Experiment

Our team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is testing a device that could potentially help people who are blind and visually impaired people. Although our system is designed for people who are blind and visually impaired, we will recruit both sighted and blind and visually impaired subjects. Sighted subjects will be 18 to 65 years old, healthy, have no history of neurological disorder/disease, have normal or corrected-to-normal vision and hearing. Aside from lacking vision, blind subjects will be similar, with minimal comorbidities that would interfere in study participation.

You will be compensated for your time at the rate of $15 per hour of participation for behavioral experiments, with standard MIT travel compensation rate if long distance or special needs of mobility challenges related to blindness. 

If chosen, you will be asked to sit, or stand blindfolded in an indoor testing space with objects not causing danger, such as cardboard boxes, movable chairs, or soft yoga balls. Blind participants may use white canes together with the proposed wearable system. You will use the devices to traverse a path, localize or avoid an obstacle, in controlled replications of real-world mobility behaviors such as obstacle avoidance, way finding, shore lining, person following, passable gap judgment, and curb/stair detection.

We hope you will join us to improve the safe mobility for people who are blind and visually impaired.  If you are interested, please apply at this link:

Thank you,

The Fifth Sense Project team

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory

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Say “No” to Ill-Fitting Wheelchairs

Hi DME Users, Rehab Professionals and activists,

Say no to ill-fitting wheelchairs and support the “Ensuring Access to Quality Complex Rehabilitation Technology Act” now! Let’s ensure that everyone has access to individually-configured wheelchairs that best meets their physical and functional needs.

Take Action Now!  (click link)

Properly configured wheelchairs and other mobility equipment is critical to quality of life and independence. It keeps us moving. It allows us to do what we love. And most importantly, it enables us to take advantage of every opportunity that comes our way. Isn’t that what life’s all about? If you’re stuck at home with a cruddy wheelchair, that isn’t much of a life.


Alexandra Bennewith Vice President, Government Relations

United Spinal


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MassMATCH Website Survey

Please Take Survey About MassMATCH Program Website  

MassMATCH is seeking feedback on the usability and usefulness of everything about our website. Please share your experiences by completing the MassMATCH User Experience Survey by June 26th at

Thank you.

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Easter Seals Assistive Technology Summer Bootcamps and Workshops

Easter Seals is offering many opportunities to enhance your AAC skills and knowledge this summer. You can choose from a multi-day AAC Bootcamp or a 1-day workshop.   Please visit for more details on all Bootcamp and Workshop offerings.

AAC Bootcamps

Professional Bootcamp: July 13-16th at Malden Public Schools      $400 early bird/$500 standard             ASHA CEUs available

Parent Bootcamp: July 27th-30th at Bourne Public Schools                         $200 early bird/ $250 standard

Advanced Bootcamp: August 10th-13th, Boston                              $400 early bird/$500 standard             ASHA CEUs available


Single Day Workshops- $80 each

Boston: Easter Seals, 89 South Street, Boston, MA 02111

June 22nd– Pictello App for Learning and Inclusion

July 6th– Tobii vocabulary options and programming

July 20th– Proloquo2go

August 3rd– Teaching eye gaze for future eye gaze AAC users


Worcester: Easter Seals, 484 Main Street, Worcester, MA 01608

June 24th– Pictello App for Learning and Inclusion

July 8th– Tobii vocabulary options and programming

July 22nd– Proloquo2go

August 5th– Teaching eye gaze for future eye gaze AAC users

All Single day workshops run from 9:00am – 12:00pm

To register and obtain more information, contact Mallory Shelly at 508-751-6328 or

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Google Impact Challege:Disabilities is looking for your biggest and best ideas for how technology can expand opportunity and independence for people with disabilities.  Google is committing USD 20 million in grant funding toward this goal, some of which may be awarded to organizations identified through this call for ideas.  Ideas will be evaluated on a rolling basis, so you are encouraged to submit whenever you are ready.  Ideas will be accepted until September 30, 2015 at 2:00 pm, Pacific Daylight Time.  For more information visit the link:

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AT&T and New York University’s ABILITY Lab launch the ConnectAbility Challenge


AT&T has partnered with NYU and RESNA to design a technology contest titled “Connect Ability Challenge”.  AT&T will be awarding prizes to individual developers and small business that deliver software or apps to the Challenge review board before June 24, 2015.

The ConnectAbility Challenge is a three-month global competition for developers, engineers and makers to win more than $100,000 in prizes to design software, wearable devices and other technology solutions aimed at enhancing the lives of people with disabilities at work, home and play.

The competition directs developers to solve challenges facing people living withdisabilities in for four functional categories:

People with sensory disabilities

People in need of mobility solutions

People in need of social and emotional solutions

People with communicative and cognitive disabilities

Throughout the competition, developers will have the opportunity to interact directly with volunteers with diverse disabilities who will share the challenges they face and help guide competitors to find solutions. AT&T produced short videos available on the ConnectAbility website featuring four volunteers from New York:

Xian Horn— a teacher, speaker and writer from Manhattan who has cerebral palsy, whichimpacts her mobility.

Gus Chalkias—an assistive technology specialist, career counselor and college student from Queens who is blind.

Paul Kolter—a student, blogger, lecturer and advocate from Philadelphia who hasautism. He communicates using computer-assisted technology and struggles with anxiety and impulse control.

Jason DaSilva—a filmmaker from Brooklyn who has Multiple Sclerosis. DaSilva uses a powered wheelchair and has limited upper- and lower-limb use.

AT&T is joining the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America(RESNA) to facilitate team formation workshops in several markets across the country. These  workshops are designed to give aspiring teams context for creating assistive technology solutions, live feedback from persons with disabilities and direction on competing in the contest.

The participants’ final projects will be judged by a panel of experts from the engineering, technology and disability communities and winners will be announced on July 26th. Deadline for submissions is 5 PM Eastern June 24th.

For More Information Visit #ConnectAbility© 2015

The prize money will be given in honor of the ADA 25th Anniversary.

To learn more about the Challenge, visit .  All the rules and guidelines are listed on the website.

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