For too long, people with disabilities could not save for the future out of fear of losing their public benefits. Advocates and organizations such as the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) fought hard to change this, resulting in the federal ABLE Act and the new ABLEnow program.
ABLEnow empowers people with disabilities and their families to save money for today’s needs or invest for tomorrow in a simple, affordable and tax-advantaged account that won’t impact certain disability benefits.
You may recognize ABLEnow from A&E’s Born This Way. During the show’s season 3 finale, stars Megan and her mom Kris learned how an ABLEnow account can help Megan save for the future and live as independently as possible.
The history of ABLE accounts and ABLEnow
ABLE accounts are the result of nearly a decade-long, cross-disability advocacy effort. The idea originated with a group of parents who recognized the unfairness of not being able to save funds in their child’s name for fear of losing essential benefits.
The effort received strong political support across party lines. The ABLE Act of 2014 was supported by 85% of the entire U.S. Congress, according to NDSS. This law has been heralded as one of the most significant pieces of disability legislation since the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The federal ABLE Act opened the door for ABLE programs, which must be set up and administered by a state. In 2015, Virginia became the first state in the country to pass ABLE legislation after the federal ABLE statute passed. This state legislation authorized development of the Virginia-sponsored ABLE program, ABLEnow.
And thanks to a 2015 amendment of the ABLE Act eliminating a state residency requirement, Virginia’s ABLE program is available for national enrollment.
With accounts in all 50 states, ABLEnow is one of the fastest-growing ABLE savings program in the country since it opened for national enrollment in December 2016.
The first ABLEnow account was opened by Natalie, a 17-year-old high school senior with Down syndrome, and her mom Catherine. Catherine and her late husband, Stephen Beck, were among the group of parents who came up with the idea for ABLE accounts almost a decade ago, starting an advocacy effort that led to the passage of the ABLE Act and creation of ABLE programs.
Sadly, Mr. Beck passed away right before the ABLE Act was signed into law. The Act, signed by President Obama in December 2014, was named for him to honor his advocacy – the Stephen Beck, Jr., Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act.
How We Support Families:
ABLEnow gives individuals with disabilities a greater sense of financial independence and a reliable tool to build the best life possible. It offers families a way to contribute toward their independence and financial security.
The ABLEnow program offers some of the lowest fees in the country, an online portal to manage your account and the ABLEnow Card—a debit card providing a simple, fast way to pay for qualified disability expenses.
The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) and the ABLE National Resource Center offer helpful resources on ABLE accounts. Eligible individuals in all U.S. states can open their ABLEnow account with no enrollment fee and no minimum contribution at able-now.com.
ABLEnow is a sponsor of the Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network’s 2017 Rockin’ Mom Retreat. You can learn more and open an ABLEnow account at able-now.com. To learn more, watch this video about ABLEnow. If your businesses or organization would like to sponsor next year’s retreat, check out our page: http://www.dsdiagnosisnetwork.org/sponsors