What are the Ability 360 and Freedom to Work Program?
Ability360, formally known as Arizona Bridge to Independent Living (ABIL) is Arizona’s largest center for independent living. Ability360 is dedicated to people with disabilities, advocating for an independent lifestyle. Their programs are made to teach people self-sufficiency and personal responsibility.
Independent living means that an individual with disabilities has the freedom and the ability to direct their own life. Each person must utilize their personal ability and work at integrating into the community. While people may use aid in some areas of their life, most decisions can, and will, be made independently. People sometimes need assistance around their house and that is not a problem, but the person with disabilities chooses who assists them and how frequently. Just as people without disabilities are able to fail and learn from those failures, Ability360 promotes that same mentality for people with disabilities. The more freedom a person is given, the happier they generally are.
What ages qualify for the SAIL program?
ABIL has multiple programs designed to help people of all ages. They have a community transition program that helps young people between the ages of 14 and 22 move from school life into the working world. They also have a program aimed at transitioning people out of nursing homes back into the community. Sometimes, people remain in nursing homes because they are not aware they have any other choices. Ability360 is trying to break that idea. They also work with rehabilitation centers and are able to add home modifications for people who have recently been rehabbed. On the more fun side, they encourage socialization through recreation, teaching people social skills through games and other fun activities.
Beyond offering programs, ABIL has experienced caregivers who can come directly to a person’s home and assist them. Caregivers provide different types of care, including help around the home, respite care, companionship, and personal care. If someone can more or less live on their own, but has some trouble keeping up with housework, or trouble performing any activity of daily living, then a caregiver may be the right option for them.
Freedom to Work Program (FTW)
Many people do not know, but there is a program within AHCCCS called the Freedom to Work (FTW) program for people with disabilities who live independently and would like to work. Any Arizonan with a disability between the ages of 16 to 64 is eligible to apply. The FTW program allows a person to work while still receiving AHCCCS or ALTCS coverage. This program is only for individuals with disabilities, either physical or mental. For people without disabilities, too much income is a disqualifying factor and a Miller Trust or income only trust must be created to qualify for ALTCS benefits. Due to the general income restrictions, many people assume a person with disabilities cannot work if they are on AHCCCS or ALTCS.
The FTW program covers the same services and the same medical equipment that AHCCCS or ALTCS would cover. The FTW program only requires a small premium to be paid each month, in what is known as a Medicaid Buy-in. For the services rendered, the premium is an extremely small sum that changes annually. If you or your loved one has a disability, but the disability does not qualify for FTW, you/they may still be able to qualify for AHCCCS or ALTCS under separate rules. If you need help with ALTCS specifically, give us a call today and we will be able to assist.
How Much can a Person Earn and still Qualify for FTW
Although the program allows a person to work, making more than the standard income limits, there is still a limit. The amount changes each year, but click here for the most up to date income limit. Basically, a person’s monthly earned income will be counted towards the income limit for program qualification. However, spousal income and Social Security disability income are not considered when establishing eligibility for the program.