Edward Mitchell is saving for vehicle modifications and accessible housing needs.
Edward Mitchell became an independent living specialist at the Jackson Center for Independent Living in Tennessee, after having served as a board member at the Center for more than 10 years. He currently serves on the board of the Tennessee Statewide Independent Living Council. Involved in a hit-and-run accident in 2003, Edward has quadriplegia with an incomplete spinal cord injury at the C5 and C6 levels. That hasn’t slowed him down, however. As an active member Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and a volunteer in his community, he also serves as the fan relations coordinator of the Jackson Generals minor league baseball team. Edward obtained his bachelor’s degree in 2009 from Lane College a private HBCU and his MBA in 2011 from Union University. He opened his ABLE account because it allows him to work and save money, and he plans to put his funds towards accessible housing, which is scarce in rural Tennessee. As an individual who transitioned to living with a disability, Edward knows from his own experience that obtaining information about disability resources isn’t easy and that available information needs to be presented accurately to the disability community. As an ABLE Advisor he can help bridge that gap.
Edward Mitchell’s Highlight from the September 2018 AchievABLE Newsletter
Edward Mitchell is a 31-year-old ABLE account owner from Jackson, Tennessee. Edward is ABLE-eligible due to a spinal cord injury from a hit and run car accident when he was 17 years old. That hasn’t stopped him though. He graduated both high school and college magna cum laude, and went on to get his MBA. Edward is currently working part-time as an Independent Living Specialist with the Jackson Independent Living Center and serving as Fan Relations staff for the Jackson Generals Minor League Baseball Team.
Edward will be the first to tell you that, despite his significant achievements and work skills, he has been forced to take part-time employment at reduced salaries in order to maintain benefits and needed nursing support. Despite this, Edward is focused on moving into full-time employment. Towards that end, he is working with a benefits advisor to learn more about work incentives and supports through SSA’s Ticket to Work program.
At 31, Edward badly wants to join his more financially independent, non-disabled friends by moving out of his parents’ house. In addition to his full-time employment goal, Edward’s ABLE goal is to save up for an accessible van and an accessible living situation. To support this goal, Edward’s parents charge him rent from his SSI check and turn around and contribute that amount back into his ABLE account every month. They would like him to have his independence too!
In late July, the ABLE National Resource Center was able to bring Edward out to Washington D.C. to provide testimony from his experience as an ABLE account owner to a Senate Congressional Hearing on ABLE. His story and his representation of others’ ABLE stories – remember, he’s an Independent Living Specialist – resulted in Edward receiving the bulk of attention and questions from the Senators, in comparison to other analysts and experts on the panel with him. Check out Edward’s ABLE testimony: https://www.aging.senate.gov/hearings/supporting-economic-stability-and-self-sufficiency-as-americans-with-disabilities-and-their-families-age
As an ABLE Advisor, Edward wants other ABLE-eligible individuals and their families to know that, “ABLE has allowed me to start saving without penalizing or jeopardizing my benefits. My parents worry what will happen to me when they are no longer able to help or they have died. ABLE gives them some peace of mind about my future. Plus, unlike a special needs trust that must be controlled by a trustee or trustees, ABLE gives me – a person with a disability – control over my finances and increased independence.”