September 2018 AchievABLE Newsletter

The September 2018 issue of our AchievABLE Newsletter contains stories on the following:

New Webinar Open for Registration: ABLE Success in the Real World

The purpose of this webinar is to provide a space to hear three very diverse stories, experiences and lessons learned about ABLE accounts and their use directly from ABLE account owners.

For ABLE-eligible individuals and/or their family members who still hesitate to set up an ABLE account, we are offering this opportunity to hear from three of our ABLE Advisors – two individual ABLE account owners and a parent of an ABLE account owner – on why they chose to set up an ABLE account and specific examples of how ABLE is helping them to “achieve a better life experience.”

For existing ABLE account owners and/or their family members who want to hear concrete real-world strategies and lessons from other ABLE account owners, this is your opportunity to hear from those who are on the front line, pioneering and problem-solving how best to incorporate ABLE into their lives to “achieve a better life experience.”

Topics will include:

  • ABLE account stories and testimonials
  • Rolling 529 college savings accounts over into ABLE accounts
  • How ABLE accounts can be used to support part-time or full-time employment goals
  • Strategies for using ABLE accounts to increase quality of life and financial independence:
    • For an individual living with a mental health disability
    • For an individual living with a developmental disability
    • For an individual living with a spinal cord injury

2018 #ABLEtoSave Campaign Recap

The 2018 #ABLEtoSave campaign was a month-long grassroots education and informational campaign about Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) accounts. The primary goals of #ABLEtoSave were to increase awareness about ABLE accounts and to accelerate the amount of ABLE accounts opened across the country in the short- and long-term.

Throughout the month of August, ABLE National Resource Center (ANRC) provided sample messages, tweets and other resources to all campaign participants. Informational and marketing videos were developed and a topical webinar was held each week. Each week in August focused on a different topic: Basic Overview of ABLE, Eligibility, Qualified Disability Expenses, Financial Literacy and Enrollment and Beyond.

During the last week of the campaign, ANRC launched the second phase of the website and debuted the new “Roadmap to Independence.” This roadmap includes videos and guidance on how to manage an ABLE account once you are enrolled. The map includes the following five steps: Setting My Financial Goals, Building a Circle of Support, Making Smart Financial Decisions, Monitoring My ABLE Account and Celebrating My Independence.

ABLE Advisor Profile: Meet Edward Mitchell

Edward Mitchell, sitting in his powerchair, next to Senator Bob Casey and Former ABLE NRC Director, Chris Rodriguez. They are all in a Senate Office Building room. 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:

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.”

ABLE Advisor Profile: Meet Larry Angeli

Larry Angeli standing outside on a deck with his son, Andrew, and wife.Larry Angeli is the father of 21-year-old country music aficionado, world traveler and ABLE Account owner, Anthony. While they spent their summer traveling extensively, the Angelis live in Michigan and have their ABLE Account through Michigan’s MiABLE program.

As soon as Anthony was born, his family started to save for his future by putting money into his 529 college savings account. This was prior to Anthony’s disability diagnosis, as a young child, of Autism and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS). While they still want to invest in Anthony’s future, they are now unsure if college will be a part of that future. With this in mind, and trying to be prudent about Anthony’s current and future needs, Larry’s focus this year has been on rolling over the funds from his 529 college savings into his 529a ABLE account. It is of vital importance to Larry that he executes this properly so as not to put Anthony’s benefits into jeopardy.

Larry encourages other parents to be aware of the following if/when you do a rollover from a 529 college savings account to a 529a ABLE account:

  1. Be sure that it is stipulated on the form as the “request reason” that this is a “qualified” distribution.
  2. Be sure that the payment is being made to the ABLE account as a “Rollover” payment (i.e. you are not using the funds to pay college expenses) and you are simply rolling these funds over to another qualified plan.
  3. Include the full information about where the money is going – both the company and the state plan names (e.g., In Larry and Anthony’s case this would be Michigan’s MiABLE program).

As an ABLE Advisor, Larry wants other ABLE eligible individuals and their families to know that “In determining how much to a rollover between 529 college savings accounts and 529a ABLE accounts, remember that you can only deposit up to $15,000 a year in the ABLE account from ALL sources, including rollovers. Make sure that the amount that you are rolling overtakes into account how much you have already deposited to date and how much you plan to be deposited from other sources in the current tax year.  The total cannot be more than $15,000.”