The January/February issue of our AchievABLE Newsletter contains stories on the following:
- New Webinar: A New Year, A New You! Strategies to Increase Your Financial Fitness with an ABLE Account in 2020
- Introducing the 2020 ABLE NRC Ambassadors
- ABLE Employer Toolkit Release
- Top Three Questions: January
- December Webinar Archive: Celebrating the Fifth Anniversary of ABLE with ABLE JeoPARODY
- State ABLE Program News
New Webinar: A New Year, A New You! Strategies to Increase Your Financial Fitness with an ABLE Account in 2020
January 23, 2020 – 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. ET
The ABLE National Resource Center (ABLE NRC) is here to help you start the new year off right by providing tips on how an ABLE account can improve your Financial Fitness and put you on track for success in 2020.
Learn how to begin to incorporate your New Year’s resolutions into ABLE savings goals and build a process to take control of your finances. We will discuss the links between health, fitness and healthy finances and provide tips and promising practices to:
- Strengthen your core with ABLE fundamentals for 2020 success
- Find workout buddies to help you reach your ABLE goals through your ABLE circle of support
- Increase your flexibility by using various ABLE financial tools
- Build financial endurance by delaying disbursements and learning about compounded interest
- Maintain a well-balanced ABLE account in 2020 with options to fund your account that you may not know about.
The presenters on this webinar will be:
- Miranda Kennedy, Director, ABLE NRC
- Marlene Ulisky, Disability Benefits Expert, ABLE NRC
Introducing the 2020 ABLE NRC Ambassadors
After a nationwide search, during which we were privileged to hear so many powerful and compelling ABLE stories from many ABLE account owners and their family members, we are proud to introduce our 2020 ABLE National Resource Center (ABLE NRC) Ambassadors.
Our Ambassadors represent a diverse selection of ABLE programs, types of disabilities, geographic locations, ages, gender, race and ethnicity, along with a wide range of ABLE goals.
The role of our ABLE NRC Ambassadors is to act as national spokespersons, providing a human face to ABLE. During 2020, our Ambassadors will share their knowledge and success using their ABLE accounts with millions of other ABLE-eligible individuals. Our Ambassadors will be using their own lived experiences and personal stories to motivate others to take advantage of the transformative benefits of being an ABLE account owner.
ABLE Employer Toolkit Release
The ABLE NRC recently released the new ABLE Employer Toolkit. The toolkit consists of resources for employers to share with employees impacted by the additional and often significant expenses that can be associated with having a disability. Toolkit items are downloadable and free of charge.
Even with a well-paying job, employees who have a disability, or employees who support family members who have a disability, often face significant costs to maintain health, independence and quality of life. ABLE accounts are key to “Achieving a Better Life Experience” for your employees with disabilities and their families. An ABLE account can be used to support your employees’ ability to work and to increase their productivity, which results in a diverse, valued and productive workforce. The ABLE Employer Toolkit can help you understand and integrate ABLE into your employee benefits program to support their success in work and life.
Top Three Questions: January
1. I am employed and want to begin regularly saving into my ABLE account. How can I deposit money into my ABLE account since the account is online, and can it be done through my employer?
Most employers can help you to set up payroll deductions into your ABLE account. You can:
- Provide your ABLE account number to your employer and request deductions from your paycheck just like you would with any other type of account
- Download a form that some ABLE programs provide on their website, indicate the withholding amount you choose and give it to your employer to start deductions
If your employer cannot process the request due to limitations in their payroll system, there are other ways to save, and the rules vary by state. Examples include:
- Sending a paper check to your ABLE program
- Transferring funds electronically
Once you deposit to your ABLE account, you may have to wait a short period before you can access the funds. You may want to ask your state ABLE program about their “hold time,” particularly if you use your account as a transactional account to pay bills. “Holding rules” are often described in the ABLE plan Disclosure Document.
If your employer is not familiar with ABLE accounts, ask them to visit and review the “tools” in our Employer Toolkit.
2. This year, I am thinking about long-term goals and becoming financially fit. I am employed and my family and I both contribute to my ABLE account regularly. Where can I find the total amount I can save in my ABLE account over time?
The ABLE account balance limit varies from program to program, ranging from $235,000 to over $500,000. You can contact your state ABLE program and ask, or you can find a specific state ABLE account limit by using our Select A State Tool.
To find the limit for all states to compare, follow these steps:
- Use the “Search by ABLE Program Features Tool”
- Select any of the features
- Scroll down to the bottom of the results page, where you will find two CSV files. One of the files contains the data for all states.
Please keep in mind that the calendar year contribution limit is $15,000 (2020), but employed account owners may be able to contribute even more under the ABLE to Work Act.
Also, as you make purchases from your ABLE account, the annual contribution limit of $15,000 applies. If you spent $15,000 within the calendar year, you cannot contribute more to your ABLE account until the next calendar year. Through the ABLE to Work Act, you may be allowed to contribute more to your account from your earnings each calendar year.
The ABLE account balance limit means that the ABLE balance cannot exceed that amount. An account balance is the amount of money present in a financial repository, such as a savings or checking account, at any given moment. The account balance is always the net amount after factoring in all debits and credits. A person who has reached the ABLE balance limit may have contributed far more than that amount over years of contributing and spending from ABLE.
3. I am concerned about being able to access my ABLE savings if I need to make a withdrawal since the account is an online account. How can I withdraw funds easily and quickly?
Check with your state ABLE program first. Most programs allow requests for withdrawals by phone, through a debit card or by check. You can request that a check be sent to you or, if you maintain the checking account option with your ABLE program, you can write a check to pay for your purchase so long as you have sufficient funds in your account. Some programs may ask you to complete a withdrawal request form. You may also be able to transfer funds electronically from your ABLE account. Once again, check with the ABLE program to learn what options are available.
To learn more about the rules of your ABLE program, explore the ABLE program’s Disclosure Document through our Select A State Tool.
December Webinar Archive: Celebrating the Fifth Anniversary of ABLE with ABLE JeoPARODY
December 19, 2019 was the fifth anniversary of the passage of the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act into law. The ABLE NRC invited you to join us as we celebrated this momentous occasion by sharing important ABLE facts and updates in a fun and festive way through our ABLE JeoPARODY Game Show. This fresh take on Jeopardy featured three working-age ABLE account owners competing for cash prizes into their ABLE accounts using what they knew (or thought they knew) about ABLE. They competed to win.
State ABLE Program News
- The National Association of State Treasurers (NAST) recently released a video highlighting the benefits of ABLE accounts. Watch the video.
- In just three years, Oregon ABLE has helped more than 3,000 individuals save a total of $17 million. Read the full story.
- Vermont State Treasurer Beth Pearce recently released a video to raise awareness about the VermontABLE Program. Watch the video.