Advocate for children and adults with sickle-cell disease. Son receives Social Security Disability Benefits. ABLE funds are being saved for a communications device, durable medical equipment and an accessible vehicle.
Davinna Christian Highlight from the June 2019 AchievABLE Newsletter
Meet our ABLE NRC Ambassador, Davinna Christian, whose 20-year-old son, Dushon, is graduating from high school on Friday, June 14, 2019! CONGRATULATIONS, DUSHON!
Just like most parents, Davinna is looking forward to celebrating this milestone with Dushon. This is an even more important milestone since Dushon has Sickle-cell disease (a blood disorder) that resulted in a series of strokes that left him with a significant disability at age 11. Dushon now uses a motorized wheelchair and communication devices and will need costly personal care support and other disability services throughout his life. This is where his ABLE account comes in. Dushon’s graduation announcement includes a link for cash gifts to his MiABLE account, a concept that Davinna learned about from other parents of ABLE account owners. Dushon’s graduation party is Saturday, June 15th, and Davinna will be using this opportunity to both celebrate and help further educate their family and friends (e.g. their “Circle of Support”) about ABLE and how they can contribute to Dushon’s financial support and future needs with ABLE.
Davinna says it best, “ABLE was the answer to five out of six of the problems I have had as a parent. When you deal with a disability from birth I think it’s easier because, at 11 years old, there are all of these things you have to apply for that you never knew existed before. My son had a bank account that we opened for him when he was five years old. As you talk to people at SSA (Social Security Administration) – they say you can only do this or that. For SSA and others to help my child, he could not have any of those assets.” Davinna explained that this news created a huge dilemma, “Can I never save money for Dushon? Now that he’s in a wheelchair and needs these services, now I’m stuck. There was no ABLE account back then. The only thing people could tell me was to set up an SNT (Special Needs Trust), but you need three to five-thousand dollars to set up an SNT and I didn’t have that.”
For Davinna, being able to open an ABLE account for Dushon has made all of the difference. She states, “ABLE solved so many problems. It seems small, but it’s so big! The MiABLE program has a debit card. I don’t have to wait for money to come and transfer to the bank account. It has helped to solve the stress.”
Dushon is getting older – having just turned 20 – and has grown a lot recently. This means it’s time to get a bigger wheelchair. This is one of many challenges that Davinna and Dushon have faced that ABLE has helped them to address. Davinna broke down her thought process, “When you have to have a customized wheelchair that is going to cost $15,000 or $20,000, what am I going to have to pay after insurance pays or when insurance doesn’t cover certain things? What happens when he comes of age and has to access his own money?”
Davinna found that ABLE was the solution to many of her concerns as a parent. “They [transition age youth with disabilities] have to have their own account when they come of age. As a parent of any child, disabled or not – you want them to be successful and know that if anything happens to you, they have a safety net. My focus changed from saving for college once Shon had his disability. The ABLE account has allowed me to relax and not worry about how saving money will impact the benefits he needs. This (Dushon’s MiABLE account) will take care of whatever needs he has. I can relax and take a breath. That is real.”