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Partner Spotlight: The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) – by Aaron Kaufman

Logo for the Jewish Federations of North AmericaThe Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) is the umbrella organization for 146 Jewish Federations and more than 300 independent Jewish communities across North America. Each Federation supports a number of service providers, such as nonprofit hospitals, nursing and assisted living facilities, group homes, family service agencies, and vocational training organizations–programs that, taken together, provide care to more than 1.3 million people of all faiths and socio-economic levels. Many of these provide vital services to people with disabilities. JFNA’s disability work focuses on inclusion, with a particular emphasis on policies that support our Federations and their partners.

Inclusion: JFNA believes in a society that is fully inclusive and one that provides the supports and services that people with disabilities need to flourish. To achieve this goal, JFNA helps Federations and their partner agencies to become more welcoming and inclusive. JFNA’s own disability work is led by someone who has cerebral palsy. JFNA also holds an annual Jewish Disability Advocacy Day, during which lawmakers hear directly from people with disabilities.

Policy: JFNA also advocates on national policies to improve the lives of people with disabilities. JFNA is currently advocating for the Better Care Better Jobs Act, which proposes a significant federal investment in Medicaid Home- and Community-Based Services (HCBS), such as personal care assistance, job coaching, housing, transportation, and more. These services are lifelines for many people with disabilities.

JFNA also advocates for policies that promote greater financial independence and stability for people with disabilities and is thus currently supporting the ABLE Age Adjustment Act. This legislation would expand eligibility for the ABLE program from individuals who acquire their disability before the age of 26 to those who become disabled later in life (up to age 46). Right now, only those who become disabled before age 26 can save for disability-related expenses using ABLE Accounts. The ABLE Age Adjustment Act would significantly increase the number of people who are eligible to participate in the ABLE program. Please take action in support of this critical, bipartisan legislation by clicking here. It is quick and easy to do.

If you would like more information about JFNA’s work in this sphere, please contact Aaron Kaufman, Senior Manager of Legislative Affairs at [email protected] or (202) 736-5865.

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