Samantha, a 32-year-old with cerebral palsy, devotes her time to advocating on behalf of others with disabilities and making meaningful connections with non-profit organizations in Tampa that foster this community’s independence.
She is currently involved with three organizations, including Self Reliance, a Center for Independent Living. The center focuses on teaching life skills that are necessary for youth transitioning out of high school to live independently in their community just like Samantha did.
She is also involved with The Grow Group and All People’s Life Center. In her spare time, she participates in adaptive sports, including: golf, waterskiing, para-badminton, kayaking and will be starting archery soon.
“Most of these sports I plan on playing competitively on a paralympic level in the near future,” she said.
Samantha’s most recent role is as an ABLE United Brand Ambassador where she shares with others how ABLE United has helped her achieve a better life experience.
“My disability benefits are just not enough to cover all living expenses, let alone ones related to a disability. When I first opened an ABLE United account, it was only meant to be a savings account,” she shared. “The plan was to deposit 10 percent of every paycheck automatically – I didn’t want it to be an account that was used frequently to pay for everyday expenses.”
But that changed as less than a year after Samantha opened her account, her health declined unexpectedly. Through her extensive search for resources that would assist her with daily living activities, she soon realized how important Medicaid was as unexpected doctor visits and hospital admissions were becoming the new “normal”.
“Retaining my Medicaid is essential to my health and can be a matter of life or death. The new purpose for my ABLE United account is to deposit all my wages once I return to the workforce within the next few months,” Samantha said. “For that to be possible a Smart Drive wheelchair and other assistive technologies must be purchased, as well as a wheelchair accessible van and its conversion.”
These “big ticket” items will make it possible for her to live a productive and independent life. “Having an ABLE United account makes this all possible,” she explained.
In celebration of National Savings Day on Saturday, October 12, we are kicking off a week-long campaign to empower individuals with disabilities to feel confident to save.
Financial decisions impact our everyday lives – from budgeting for weekly groceries to determining investment options for retirement. It’s important to know that with ABLE United, Floridians in the disability community have the opportunity to save with the potential to experience tax-free earnings – all without impacting eligibility for SSI, Medicaid and other benefits.
When you enroll in an ABLE United account, you’re opening up a world of possibilities to help you plan for your future:
- Save for disability related expenses in a tax-free account
- Save with the help of family, friends and others through our enhanced gifting page
- Save with our eight professionally managed investment and savings options designed to meet your goals
Want a chance to win?
We want to hear how you’re using or plan to use your ABLE account. Between Monday, October 7 and Saturday, October 12, enter our giveaway by sharing a photo of yourself and what you’re saving for now. Three grand prize winners will win a brand new 10.2-inch iPad and a $50 account contribution to their ABLE account.
What are you waiting for? Start saving today with ABLE United, a savings and investment account just for you.
To review the Promotion Guidelines, please click here.
Individuals with disabilities in Florida who enroll in an ABLE United account have the opportunity to save up to $15,000 per year – without jeopardizing federal benefits like SSI or Medicaid. The best part is that anyone may contribute to an account on behalf of the individual with a disability, including the individual, family, friends—and even organizations like civic groups, churches or non-profits.
It is now easier than ever for others to contribute to an individual’s ABLE United account with the enhancement of the ABLE United gifting page, which accepts funds via electronic transfer from a bank account OR a debit card (for a nominal fee).
Additional enhancements include:
Customization to show a specific savings goal
Use it like a GoFundMe page by setting a goal and sharing with individuals and/or organizations as a way for them to give gifts instead of physical presents.
Social media and e-mail integration for easy sharing
Sharing your gifting page is now as easy as clicking a button—you can also add the unique URL to the tag line of your email.
It’s important to note that all contributions made directly to an ABLE United account from a third-party are not considered income to the individual with a disability; rather, contributions are considered completed gifts.
We encourage current and prospective account holders to take advantage of the new, enhanced gifting page to continue to build their savings for A Better Life Experience.
According to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, there are an estimated 400,000 individuals with physical, developmental or intellectual disabilities that are employed across our state.
Are you an ABLE United account holder who is working?
If “yes”, then you might be eligible to save even more in your ABLE account.
Thanks to ABLE to Work, working account holders who do not participate in an employer-sponsored retirement plan may contribute above the annual standard contribution limit of $15,000. The additional contribution is based on the lessor of:
- The account holder’s compensation for the taxable year; or
- The federal poverty line for a one-person household ($12,140 in 2019).
With the implementation of ABLE to Work, individuals with disabilities who are working now have the opportunity to save up to a maximum of $27,140 each year. It’s important to remember that contributions into an ABLE United account from wages still count as earned income, but do not count as an asset for federally means-tested programs such as Medicaid. For Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the first $100,000 does not count as an asset.
The additional contribution for account holders who are working is in effect through December 31, 2025, when the ABLE to Work Act is set to expire.
Additionally, account holders who are able to take advantage of contributing earned income to their ABLE account may also be able to take advantage of the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit (Saver’s Credit). Saver’s Credit is an existing federal tax credit that low and middle-income individuals can claim when they make contributions to a retirement account.
Ready to contribute?
You can make an ABLE to Work contribution online or by using the Contribution Form.
At 15-years-old, Sean is as big as a star.
He has been active in different activities over the years, but his real passion is singing and dancing. He has been in a many musicals and plays where he has memorized lyrics, choreography and speaking parts. His mother, Michelle, explains, “Sean brings great joy to those around him, whether he’s performing or simply by talking to a new acquaintance.”
“I first learned about ABLE United from a friend, but it wasn’t until I attended Family Café that I really got to understand the benefits of having an account,” said Michelle.
Currently, the family is using Sean’s account as a tax-free option to save for his future, but they are also planning to use it alongside his Special Needs Trust. “Sean’s ABLE United account allows us to pay for some items that he can’t with his trust – we’ve found that they work together nicely.”
Most importantly, his account will allow him to save his own money without jeopardizing his benefits that help cover medical services.
“Sean has great potential to live a fulfilling life in the future with help from family, friends and his ABLE United account,” said Michelle.
ABLE United has provided thousands of Floridians with disabilities a new way to save without affecting government benefits like Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. However, there has been one obstacle left that caused many not to open an account.
Federal law allows that when a beneficiary passes away, and after all outstanding Qualified Disability Expenses are paid, a state may file a claim for Medicaid expenditures on their ABLE account. Now, thanks to the signing of HB 6047 on Friday June 7, 2019, Floridians covered by Medicaid no longer need to fear that a Medicaid claim will be filed on their ABLE United accounts. Instead after all Qualified Disability Expenses are paid, leftover funds would go to the individuals estate.
Florida joined California, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Oregon and other states in passing legislation to clarify that all outstanding funds in an ABLE United account, after Qualified Disability Expenses are paid, should go to the beneficiary’s estate.
ABLE United salutes our elected officials and Governor DeSantis for passing and signing into law this important legislation, which provides increased peace of mind to ABLE United account holders receiving Medicaid and their families.
If Medicaid recovery was holding you back from opening an ABLE United account, now might be the time for you to reconsider. And, if you open your account by July 31, ABLE United will contribute $50 to help you get started saving and investing in a brighter future.
There’s never been a better time to start saving than now.
Thank you for all those who stopped by our booth or attended our break out sessions. Below you will find the presentations given at The Family Cafe 2019.
We are excited to be participating in the Annual Family Café for the fourth consecutive year!
Do you have questions about ABLE United? Are you interested in opening an account?
Stop by our booth on Friday and Saturday during exhibit hours to meet with one of our representatives. But, wait, it gets better: we will be onsite helping to enroll qualified individuals into their accounts!
Besides packing some clothes and toiletries, here’s what you’ll need to bring to start an ABLE United account:
- Valid Email address
- Personal identifying information for account owner, and if necessary, Authorized Legal Representative:
- Name, Address, Date of Birth
- Social Security Number
- Category of disability with onset before age 26 – we will provide category descriptions in the application to guide you
- Relationship to beneficiary
We hope to see you there!
At five years old, Natalie has proven to be a brave little warrior time and time again. At just two weeks old she was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia – hemoglobin SS (HbSS), the most severe type of sickle cell. Natalie’s first blood transfusion was July 2014, a few months shy of her first birthday. To date, she’s had nearly 40 transfusions with a dozen hospitalizations (including a surgery to have her spleen removed).
“Being a mother to a child with sickle cell anemia is the most difficult job in the world,” said Jessica. “There are many sleepless nights from pain and fever and trying to manage symptoms at home to avoid another hospitalization. The worst feeling in the world for any mother is the feeling of helplessness experienced when you cannot help your child.”
Jessica first heard about ABLE United through her past work experience as a waiver support coordinator with the Agency for Persons with Disability.
“I loved the idea of being able to save money for Natalie’s future and not lose our benefits,” she explained.
“Our ABLE United account allows us to have a “rainy day” fund because when Natalie gets sick and is hospitalized as she was this past week, I miss out on work. But, thanks to her ABLE United account, we are still able to ensure that the bills are paid.”
In her spare time, Jessica works to advocate on behalf of her daughter by speaking to other parents who have children with different variations of sickle cell, as well as turning to social media to help raise awareness for the need of advanced research.
Earlier this year, Jessica also became an ABLE United brand ambassador to share with other parents and caregivers the benefits of an account.
“My hope for Natalie’s future is that she is able to save with ABLE United and be able to go to college and pursue whatever career she wants,” she said. “Her current dream is to be a pediatrician when she grows up!”
Question: What should every individual with a disability have?
Answer: If they qualify, an ABLE United account.
ABLE United accounts offer the ability to save while maintaining SSI and Medicaid. Family and friends can contribute to the account as well, and earnings are tax-free when used for qualified expenses. Now, to help you get started, we are kicking off the summer season with a special offer for new account holders.
If you open a new account anytime between May 1 – July 31, 2019, ABLE United will contribute $50 into your account to help you get a head start on saving!*
Did you know that we recently introduced new account features to ensure that individuals with a disability can save for a better life experience in the way that best fits their needs and goals?
New features include:
- FDIC-insured savings option for peace of mind
- Ability to choose how you withdraw funds to allow you to use your account your way
- Enhanced gifting page to allow others to support you in reaching your savings goals
- Live chat with Customer Service to answer all your questions
Opening an account is quick, easy and free – below is the information you will need to get started:
- Personal identifying information of the account owner and if necessary the person opening the account on their behalf
- Banking information
- Selection of savings or investment options
- A contribution as little as $25 to get started.
There’s never been a better time to start saving than now. Open your account today
Enroll in a new ABLE United account between May 1, 2019 and July 31, 2019 on ableunited.com, and you will receive a $50 contribution into your new ABLE United account. This offer only applies to new accounts opened between May 1, 2019 and July 31, 2019. Funds earned will be deposited directly into your ABLE United account by October 31, 2019. ABLE United is a savings and investment plan that may be used to set aside funds for qualified disability expenses. Funds may be used tax-free to pay for any qualified disability expense. This promotion is limited to the first 5,000 accounts. ABLE United reserves the right at its sole discretion to disqualify any individual it finds to be in violation of the guidelines or any laws, or to be attempting to undermine the legitimate operation of the promotion by cheating, hacking, deception, or any other unfair practices. Please review the Program Description and Participation Agreement before opening an account.
At ABLE United, we offer account holders professionally managed savings and investment options. These options include predesigned portfolios and individual funds from which customers can build a custom portfolio.
With the recent transition of our Customer Service and Records Management to Sumday Administration, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Bank of New York (BNY) Mellon, we are excited to introduce an FDIC Savings Fund to the investment and savings options available to our customers.
The FDIC Savings Fund is an FDIC-insured savings account option with funds placed in a demand deposit account established by the Trust at the Bank of New York Mellon (Bank). FDIC insurance generally protects up to $250,000 of your deposits at the same bank in the same ownership right and capacity. The funds in your ABLE account invested in the FDIC Savings Fund, along with other deposits you hold at the Bank, will be insured up to $250,000.
This transition also provides more flexibility for customers by allowing the account holder to select which fund(s) to withdraw money from – an easy way to manage your investments separate from your savings.
It’s important to know that any new contributions can be directed toward any of the available savings and investment options, and all current investments can be transferred between savings and investment options up to two times per year. To make changes to your current investments, simply sign in to your account, click on the Investments tab, and look for the Change Strategy link under the Total Balance section.
We provide performance summaries for each of the eight savings and investment options on a monthly basis, which consists of the investment returns for each option net of the Investment Administration Fee (note: there is no Investment Administration Fee for the FDIC Savings Fund).
Have questions? Contact Customer Service through live chat or by calling toll free at:
1-888-524-ABLE (2253) (Monday – Friday, 9am – 6 pm ET)
1-844-888-2253 TTY (Monday – Friday, 9 am – 8 pm ET)