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ABLEnow: Disability & Savings

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of ABLEnow. The fact that they are sponsored this is icing, because I was writing this post anyway. I’ve set up an account with them because I wanted to; all opinions in this post are my own.

Legend has it that some parents from the Down syndrome community were sitting around a kitchen table one night, talking about the future of their children, SSI and pitfalls of the system. Most all parents of a person with Down syndrome can relate to this type of informal round-table conversation. Heck, most anyone living with a disability in the United States can relate to this type of conversation, because SSI (Supplemental Security Income) is, after all, the major financial safety net for people with disabilities living in the US, is closely linked to Medicaid, and comes with rigidly-enforced and rigorous caps to financial savings and assets.  

The system is a nightmare

If you are a parent of a child with Down syndrome or other Intellectual Disability, it’s a nightmare you are forced to navigate if you want to make sure your child will be financially secure after you pass away.

Back to that group of parents sitting around the table, talking.

A photo of a table with many mugs on it, as well as papers, indicating people are sitting around it in a casual meeting

They were led by Steve Beck, and talked about the system and preparing for their children’s financial future, about the SSI and the $2,000 savings caps, and what on earth could be done about any of it.

Steve Beck went ahead and pulled together a plan under the current 529 savings plan, whereby individuals with disabilities and their families could save money to be used for education, medical and dental care, job training, housing, transportation, and other expenses. Contributions to the account would grow tax-free and withdrawals for disability expenses would also be tax-free.

That plan, which is now known as the Stephen Beck Jr., Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014 – better known as the ABLE Act – became a law in 2014, with individual states running their specific ABLE program, which vary per state. You do not need to be a resident of the state in which your ABLE account is.

Enter ABLEnow.

ABLEnow is one of the fastest-growing ABLE programs in the country, with accounts in all 50 states.  It’s administered by Virginia529, the largest college savings plan in the US (which now has an expanded mission to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities).

What does this mean in real-speak?

It means it’s easy to set up an account with ABLEnow, and it means that since California does not yet have ABLE accounts available, I headed on over to ABLEnow to set up an account (first for my daughter who has Down syndrome, then for my self: being d/Deaf does count as a disability, as I was deaf before the age of 26, I am qualified to open an ABLE account).

Setting up Moxie’s account was a breeze.

Below is a slideshow of screenshots of the entire process.

I literally clicked a few times and within 15 minutes (or, while my coffee was still hot), had it set up.

Starting Out (5:02am)
Screenshot of the ABLEnow homepage
(5:17am (15 minutes Later) DONE!

ABLEnow

Moxie’s new ABLEnow account comes with a debit card, and it’s linked to my own bank account. This means that I can transfer money over to her account for savings, and I can maintain a regular budget for her disability-related expenses, and use the account debit card to pay for those expenses.

For more information on what counts as an expense, click here.

Like all parents, I care deeply care about my children’s future financial well-being. As a parent of a child with Down syndrome, my care runs even deeper, knowing that the system is not stacked in the favor of my child. As a deaf single mom, that concerns threads through my marrow, knowing firsthand exactly how that can affect my child, and knowing that I am the only one my child can count on to set up an ABLE account for her and plan for her future financial security.

These accounts are real game changers: they make planning, saving and disability-related spending for our kids (or ourselves, if we also have a disability) easy. They help prepare our loved ones (and/or ourselves) for a future that has a little less worry, and a lot more fun.

Photo of Moxie, by Meriah Hudson

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of ABLEnow. I wrote this post because I believe this is a fantastic avenue through which we can save money for ourselves (if we have a disability) or our kids (with disabilities).

See the Rewards I Offer on Patreon, But Most of All, Be a Part of Supporting Innovative Disability Work
Meriah
Meriah Nichols is a career counselor, teacher and blogger. Single mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one gifted 2E), she is also a Trekkie who likes her coffee hot and black.
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5 Comments

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  2. Tianna baker Reply

    Hello I’d like to know more about how this works. My child has autism and receives social security disability. I was told that we weren’t allowed to save any money, i am trying to understand exactly how this program that you speak of works. Are you saying that it is possible to save money and not be penalized for it?

    • You won’t get penalized by having more than 2k in your ABLE account – that’s the beauty of the accounts. It’s a way to save money LEGALLY even if you have SSI

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