The June issue of our AchievABLE™ Newsletter contains stories on the following:
- Introducing ABLE NRC’s newest ABLE Ambassador: Beverli Austin
- Check out what ABLE NRC’s Ambassadors Edward and Simon have to say about using an ABLE account to purchase and maintain an accessible vehicle
- ACHIEVABLE Top 3 Questions
- ABLE NRC’s Webinars On-Demand
INTRODUCING ABLE NRC’s NEWEST ABLE AMBASSADOR: BEVERLI AUSTIN
Beverli Austin and her two children live in Pittsburgh, Penn. Her son, TyVel, has Down syndrome and is a Pennsylvania ABLE account owner, and his twin sister, TyAnn, is a PA 529 college savings account owner. The twins are Beverli and her late husband, Tony’s, miracle twins. They were born at 27 weeks. TyAnn came home at two and a half months, but TyVel was not released until he was four months old due to a host of medical complications. Looking at TyVel today, you wouldn’t know he has had multiple surgeries including heart repair for Tetralogy of Fallot, a colostomy bag placed and then removed due to Hirschsprung’s disease, a feeding tube placed and then surgically closed because of silent aspiration challenges and that he was once on a BiPAP machine then a CPAP machine due to sleep apnea and other procedures.
Today, as an active three-year-old, TyVel loves to sing and dance his way through life and can be a little bit feisty when he knows he can get away with it. While Beverli holds a B.A. Degree in Political Science from Virginia Wesleyan College, and an M.A. degree in Criminal Justice from Norfolk State University, she is currently working as a Home Health Aide for her son to provide consistent care due to the inconsistency and lack of skilled nursing available during the pandemic.
Funds in TyVel’s ABLE account are being saved for his future needs such as education or retirement. As his mother, Beverli hopes the funds in his ABLE account will allow TyVel to live life to the fullest in ways outside of the medical world, but it does give her peace of mind knowing that, should something medical come up, he will have funds to assist him on his journey.
Beverli became an ABLE Ambassador to educate other parents about the benefits of an ABLE account, should their child qualify to have one. Over the past few years, she has learned firsthand that financial resources for people with disabilities are not something that is talked about in many communities and that this information is even more lacking in communities of color. Beverli says, “There is a wealth of information out there, but it does no good if no one knows about it. In my role as an ABLE Ambassador, I can help change that.”
As a part of her saving strategy for TyVel’s ABLE account, Beverli shares his UGift code with family and friends during times when people would like to give towards her children’s needs. She also utilizes the reoccurring deposit option from a checking/savings account. This allows money to be deposited seamlessly each month. It is also a great tool to use to adjust the amount deposited should new and/or different needs take precedence that month.
Beverli is working to show other ABLE-eligible families that these accounts are there for everyone that is eligible to have one and can provide a safety net for many of the unknowns that come with life. “When my husband passed away the twins were nine months old, a lot of things hit you at once when you lose a spouse and parent of your children – a financial future is one of those things. I knew I had to find a program that would give me peace of mind and ensure some type of stability for my children as they became older. For me, an ABLE account was the answer for my son. The ABLE account not only allows him to keep his federally mandated benefits, but it also allows him to save way over $2,000. I may not know what our future holds, but I do rest a little easier knowing that financially I can help him even after I am no longer here to physically help him. The ABLE account is a lifesaver for us.”
As part of her onboarding with ABLE NRC’s Ambassador program, Beverli received training and mentoring from Cheryl Walfall-Flagg, one of ABLE NRC’s senior ABLE Ambassadors, who is also a parent and guardian of two ABLE account owners and a member of the Black and Brown community. On May 16th, Beverli participated in her first event serving as a panelist on an ABLE presentation to JPMorgan Chase’s Business Resource Group. She will be participating in upcoming ABLE presentations including one that came in as a request from the co-director for a leadership program with the Michigan Disability Rights Coalition for their eight-week parent cohort for Black and Brown parents of children with disabilities.
ABLE NRC is pleased to have Beverli on board as our newest ABLE Ambassador providing important peer-to-peer outreach on ABLE, both locally in the Pittsburgh area and across the country.
If your organization or group would like to request an ABLE presentation you can contact us here.
CHECK OUT WHAT ABLE NRC’S AMBASSADORS EDWARD AND SIMON have to say about using an ABLE Account to purchase and maintain an accessible vehicle
ACHIEVABLE TOP 3 QUESTIONS
1. Are gifts made to other people from my ABLE account considered to be a qualified disability expense?
No. Qualified Disability Expenses must benefit the account owner and enhance their health, independence and quality of life.
2. If I download money onto the ABLE plan debit card, is the money on the card counted as a resource to me?
No. The money on your ABLE plan debit card is not counted as a resource for any benefits which are federally funded when it is used for a qualified disability expense (QDE).
If the funds downloaded onto the card are used for a non-qualified disability expense or housing expense, they are counted as a resource in the month after the month in which the funds were spent. If the expense is a housing expense, it must be used in the same month it is placed on the card.
And, if the intent to use the funds for a QDE changes, but the funds were not spent, the retained funds are counted as a resource as of the first of the month following the month of change of intent.
3. Can an authorized legal representative and the account owner both have a debit card to make purchases?
Check with the state ABLE plan as cards and rules differ in many states. Some states have options which allow both the account owner and the legal representative to have their own card with its own balance and spending controls. On some cards, customized restrictions can be set in certain spending categories and an alert can be turned on for a variety of activity on the card. With others, you cannot get cash or withdraw money from ATMs. And, with still others, the account owner will not have access to all of the funds in the ABLE account which may be an opportunity to teach the account owner money management skills. And, finally, fees may differ depending upon the state.
ABLE Account Data Update
March 2023 Quarterly 529 & ABLE Market Sizing Data from ISS Market Intelligence: 144,068 accounts have been opened with $1.399 billion in assets under management; the average ABLE account size is $9,711.
ABLE NRC Upcoming Webinars & Webinars on-Demand
- In May, ABLE NRC hosted an ABLE Program Spotlight featuring New York ABLE, including recent achievements and updates to the program. View the New York ABLE Program Spotlight. Visit our ABLE Program Spotlights page to check out other spotlights. You can visit these, along with all of ABLE NRC’s Webinars On Demand, at your convenience!