Meet our Current ABLE NRC Ambassadors

Lauren Hughes

Parent of ABLE Account Owner
Caldwell, ID
ABLE Program: Oregon's ABLE for ALL Program

Lauren Hughes is saving for an accessible van for her son.

Lauren Hughes new Van
Lauren Hughes son Steven

Lauren Hughes will always be her son’s strongest advocate-it is her number one job. That is why she opened an Oregon ABLE account in February 2017 for Steven, who has Trisomy 9 Mosaic a rare chromosomal disorder. Funds in Steven’s account will be used to save for his future and to replace the family’s aging van with a wheelchair accessible one, without risking his benefits. With a background in biology, Lauren understands very well the needs of someone with a physical or developmental disability. She wants to share with other families how easy it was for her to set up an ABLE account and how life changing the accounts can be for parents and children with disabilities. As an ABLE Advisor, Lauren wants to use her knowledge of ABLE to help other families gain an awareness and understanding about the full scope of ABLE accounts and help clear up people’s misconceptions.

Lauren Hughes’ Highlight from the October 2018 AchievABLE Newsletter

Lauren Hughes is the mother of 10-year-old Steven, an incoming fifth grader at Lakevue Elementary School and an ABLE account owner. Since there is currently no ABLE program in Idaho where they live, Lauren and her husband, Stan, registered Steven for his ABLE account through Oregon’s ABLE for All program for non-residents.

Steven was the Hughes family’s “Million Dollar Baby” when he was little, due to complications from his Trisomy 9 Mosaic Chromosomal Disorder that resulted in emergency flight for life services to the tune of $77,000 to get him from where they lived in Alaska at the time to a hospital in Seattle, Washington. Nowadays, Steven loves elementary school and enjoys bowling, camping and accessible fun runs. Steven has places to go and things to do, which gets us to his ABLE goal.

Currently, Lauren and her family are depositing contributions from family, along with a chunk of their SSI payment every month, into their ABLE account. They are using the account solely as a savings/investment vehicle for a new wheelchair accessible van. Their old van, which they are still driving, is not just high in miles and rusting out. Lauren and Steven’s toddler sister, Aubrielle, had the harrowing experience of having a small electrical fire in it a few months ago after dropping Steven off at school. This is an experience they are not looking to repeat! While Steven’s DD waiver will cover the labor and cost of installing a new lift to the vehicle, they need upwards of $40,000 to purchase a new vehicle. They are on track for this savings goal, which Lauren attributes to not pulling ABLE funds for regular small expenses. As part of her saving strategy, they have foregone the debit/prepaid card option. However, the debit card is an option she plans to look into after their big ticket ABLE van purchase.

In addition to using the ABLE National Resource Center’s Comparison Tool to land on the Oregon ABLE for All program, Lauren says her favorite thing is listening to ABLE NRC’s webinars while she’s cleaning. She says she always learns something new, including recently finding information to share with Steven’s grandparents around ABLE accounts and Special Needs Trusts for future estate planning.

As an ABLE Advisor, Lauren wants other ABLE-eligible individuals and their families to know that, “For years I waited in hopes that a change would come about in the ability to save and have financial freedom for those with disabilities. My advice is to take control of you or your child’s financial future. As a parent, ABLE has given me peace of mind in knowing I can set my son up financially for his current and future needs, without risking benefits. Creating an ABLE account is not time consuming and very easy to do from the comfort of your own home. You really have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Even small contributions, over time, can have a significant impact on quality of life!”

The ABLE National Resource Center is proud to have Lauren as one of our 2018 ABLE Advisors.