The August #ABLEtoSave issue of our AchievABLE™ Newsletter contains stories on the following:
- August Is #ABLEtoSave Month
- AchievABLE™ Top 3 Questions: August 2021
- Social Security News Alert!
August is #ABLEtoSave Month
Welcome to #ABLEtoSave Month where you’ll have the opportunity to learn how ABLE accounts can create a path to financial stability and improve the health, independence and quality of life for people with disabilities and their families.
The goal of #ABLEtoSave is to increase public awareness on the benefits of tax-advantaged ABLE savings and investment accounts to increase the financial well-being of people with disabilities. ABLE accounts offer eligible individuals a path to “Achieve a Better Life Experience (ABLE)” through the ABLE Act legislation of 2014. This year’s #ABLEtoSave campaign includes a focus on the ways ABLE accounts can help address the needs of all individuals with a disability including Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) community members with disabilities who are eligible for ABLE accounts.
The #ABLEtoSave 2021 national campaign includes a diverse set of engaging activities, new resources and strategies in order to maximize reach. ABLE account owners, family members and ABLE subject matter experts will engage in live panel discussions, podcasts, blogs, American Sign Language (ASL) video blogs and highlight the resources available on ABLE NRC’s comprehensive website. All live events will have CART captioning services and ASL interpretation provided.
Weekly themes during #ABLEtoSave Month:
- Week 1: Welcome to #ABLEtoSave Month
- Week 2: Opening an ABLE Account: Keys to Success
- Week 3: Best Practices for ABLE-eligible Individuals and Working-age Adults
- Week 4: Best Practices for ABLE Family Members and Circle of Support
- Week 5: ABLE Account Call to Action: Next Steps to Achieve a Better Life Experience
Participants will come away with a better understanding and confidence around ABLE accounts with helpful tools and best practices to put information into action. We will be sharing new tools such as ABLE Decision Guides that cover the interaction of ABLE accounts with public means-tested benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Medicaid and Housing and Food Assistance.
Please support us in spreading the word about #ABLEtoSave Month. Join us and share the #ABLEtoSave flyer across your networks.
Register to Participate in Live Events Taking Place During #ABLEtoSave Month
We invite you to join us for five (5) live events taking place during #ABLEtoSave Month. #ABLEtoSave Month will kick off on Monday, August 2nd and end on Monday, August 30th with panels of ABLE account owners from across the country, who have a variety of ABLE goals, sharing their experiences and advice. We will also be hosting three (3) “Ask an ABLE account owner” Q&A sessions, taking questions from you, our audience.
Aug 2, 2021 02:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
This facilitated panel discussion features our ABLE Ambassadors, who are ABLE account owners and family members, as they share their experiences setting up and having ABLE accounts. They will share what their ABLE account means to them as well as give advice to eligible ABLE account holders.
Aug 13, 2021 02:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Have a question about ABLE accounts? In this Question and Answer Session, ABLE account owners answered questions from the audience about keys to success in opening and managing ABLE accounts. Led by ABLE NRC’s Director, Miranda Kennedy, with other leading subject matter experts, this informative discussion will give you the keys to success with your ABLE account.
Aug 20, 2021 02:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Have a question about ABLE accounts? Learn about helpful tools and best practices to put information into action from our ABLE Ambassadors themselves. Hear from subject matter experts and ABLE account holders on their best practices for opening and managing an ABLE account.
Aug 27, 2021 02:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Have a question for family members of ABLE account owners? Join us for this question and answer session specifically focused on those who are circles of support to those eligible for an ABLE account. Subject matter experts will answer questions from the audience.
Aug 30, 2021 02:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
This facilitated panel discussion features our ABLE Ambassadors, who are ABLE account owners and family members, as they share how ABLE accounts have changed their lives. The panel will provide a recap of #ABLEtoSave Month and give advice on next steps to participants.
Follow #ABLEtoSave on Social Media
You can follow the #ABLEtoSave campaign on Facebook or Twitter by visiting the social media handle, @theABLENRC, and don’t forget to use the hashtag #ABLEtoSave in any posts you share. And if you aren’t on social media, you can follow along by visiting our 2021 #ABLEtoSave webpage that will be populated on a weekly basis with updated information throughout the month.
Hear from Our ABLE Ambassadors
Hear what our ABLE Ambassadors, who are ABLE account owners and family members, have to say about #ABLEtoSave Month on our panels and question and answer sessions.
ABLE account owner Nathan Turner, 33, from Toledo, Ohio has had his ABLE account since 2016. As a financial educator for the Lucas County Board of Development Disabilities, Nathan and his colleague, Margaret (a Certified Work Incentive Planning Coordinator), talk about how “Money is Freedom” in their classes. Hear what Nathan has to say from his personal and professional experience about the power of ABLE accounts.
Davinna Christian’s 22-year-old son, DuShon, has an ABLE account with MiABLE. Learn how his ABLE account has helped to address five of the six most pressing issues their family was facing and the advice that Davinna gives other parents of ABLE-eligible individuals.
Hector Ramirez, a disability rights advocate (pronouns he/they/them), will be sharing their experience as a CalABLE account owner along with their evolving perspective on the importance of giving yourself permission to have financial wellness.
Join us to hear from these and other ABLE Ambassadors. Register at: ablenrc.org/abletosave-2021
AchievABLE™ Top 3 Questions for #ABLEtoSave Month
1. Where can I find information on saving and investing in an ABLE account?
There are three primary sources of information on savings and investing in an ABLE account:
- The first is through the ABLE National Resource Center website which provides content rich resources including Webinars , Podcasts, the ABLE Account Decision Guide Series, Frequently Asked Questions and other information to help a person get started and learn to open and manage their account. The resources can be tailored to your needs by using them alone or together;
- The second is in the ABLE plan disclosure booklet. The booklet will give you information on costs, benefits and risks before choosing investments. It also includes benefits for state residents and taxpayers who invest in their state’s ABLE plan, if available. Consult a tax advisor to learn more about using state-specific tax or other benefits. You can find the document by using the ABLE NRC comparison tools and looking at the state page link which will take you to that state plan’s website. The document is typically located at the bottom of the state plan’s website homepage.
- The third is the MSRB Investor’s Guide, published by the federal Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, which falls under the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and protects investors. The ABLE plans are considered municipal securities under the federal securities laws and many are regulated as municipal fund securities under MSRB rules. MSRB rules apply to dealers that underwrite ABLE programs or to those that sell interests in ABLE programs and to municipal advisors with state sponsors of ABLE programs. The guide is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for reviewing the program disclosure document.
2. Do I need a financial broker or financial advisor to open, save and invest in an ABLE account?
No. An eligible person with a disability does not have to have a broker or financial adviser, but can use one to help make choices or include them as part of their circle of support. You can look for a broker by using BrokerCheck.
When an ABLE account is opened, the account owner will make a decision on how the funds are saved and/or whether they are invested in one or more of the options offered by the ABLE plan. With some plans, if a decision is not made, the contribution will be allocated to a “default” option which does not have much growth. This may be a good option to consider for a person who has a short-term goal. A person may open an ABLE account, saving within the savings account feature and make the choice to invest sometime in the future. Investment selection may be changed up to two times per calendar year and allocation choices may be made at any time with each contribution.
All details about options are available in the state plan disclosure documents which may be found by using our ABLE NRC comparison tools and looking at the state page link which will take you to that state plan website. The document is typically located at the bottom of the ABLE plan website’s homepage.
When you make a selection from your ABLE plan for one or more investment options, some state plans have a “Financial advisor sold plan,” but most do not. You can find the states with a financial advisor by using the ABLE plan features tool and selecting “Financial advisor sold plan.” The financial advisor sold plans may provide advice about that ABLE program and its investment options, but should never take the place of reading the disclosure document. When you review the disclosure document, it will give you information on fees. The more you pay in fees, the lower the return on your money.
Savings options are considered “safer” options and many are FDIC insured. However, the interest earnings are generally lower than investment options which may carry more risk. In deciding which options are best for you, it is important to consider your goals and whether they are short-term or longer term goals, your age, your risk tolerance and other factors specific to you.
3. How can I further my knowledge on investing?
FINRA has a wide variety of information available to learn to invest. There are courses to learn the essentials, features, risk factors and how different investments work. Key investing concepts are also discussed and savings and other calculators are provided. MSRB also provides guidance regarding ABLE investments.
Social Security News Alert!
The ABLE National Resource Center takes pride in providing accurate federal policy interpretation on ABLE accounts to increase the knowledge and usage of this savings and investment tool. In the past, we posted information from the Social Security Administration (SSA) that representative payees (RP) may only save unused benefits in an ABLE account when the account meets existing SSA policy.
SSA recently added a Payee and ABLE accounts page to their website which reiterates the rules which payees must follow when saving and managing benefits in an ABLE account. The state plans have two years from the date the final IRS regulations were published to make changes under the regulations. Meanwhile, if your ABLE plan does not meet the SSA rules for you to save benefits in an ABLE account as a RP, a person of legal age who has capacity may open their own account and save non-SSA benefits in the account, such as earnings from employment, spending money given to him/her by the RP or other income.