Born and raised in Miami, Geno is a star athlete on the Special Olympics National Team representing Florida in softball. His infectious personality makes him a stellar teammate and friend.
At an early age, Geno was diagnosed with autism but that has not slowed him down. In addition to the medals he’s won during his time competing in the Special Olympics, he has also served as a Customer Service Representative at Publix for 12 years.
His mother, Shebah, often describes her son as “gregarious.” Shebah shared that he enjoys everything that the Sunshine State has to offer, including sports (his favorite team being the Miami Heat), fishing, and music.
To ensure Geno’s financial future, Shebah recently opened an ABLE United account. “Being a single mother, I understand how important his financial independence would be to improve his quality of life,” she explained.
Since the day he was born, Shebah has wanted the best for Geno and has worked hard to set him up for success.
“Even before his diagnosis, I wanted Geno to be an active member of the community, contributing his many talents, regardless of his career path or disability,” she shared.
As advocates of the savings program, Geno and his mother are teaming up as the newest ABLE United Ambassadors. “We are excited to share with others how ABLE United has helped set him up for success and truly achieve a better life experience,” Shebah said proudly.
July 26 will mark the 30th anniversary of President George H.W. Bush signing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law, which was created to ensure that individuals with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.
Since then, the disability community has seen an increase in access and inclusion in areas such as employment, education, communications, transportation, and other aspects of public life.
The ADA also made it easier to see other areas of disparity, such as the need to provide the opportunity for those with disabilities to save. Nearly a decade ago, friends, advocates, and neighbors joined around a kitchen table to discuss the importance of establishing a financial future for their children with disabilities – just as they could for their children without disabilities.
Due to the precedent that the ADA set, the passage of legislation like the Stephen Beck Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act in 2014 was made possible. Now, thousands of individuals with disabilities are saving for their futures through ABLE United, Florida’s qualified ABLE program.
So, in recognition of this special milestone, we are throwing a virtual birthday party. From Monday, July 20 through Monday, July 27 at 5:00 p.m. ET, enter our Facebook giveaway by sharing why the ADA is important to you. Five winners will receive a pair of Apple AirPods and 30 winners will receive a $30 contribution into their ABLE United account.
While there’s still more work to be done to ensure equality for the disability community, 30 years is a milestone worthy of a big celebration!
To view the giveaway rules, click here.
Becky is a plant nursery assistant where she has been employed for more than 22 years. While she has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, epilepsy, partial deafness and other mental disabilities, she has never let that hold her back.
“Our daughter Becky has several disabilities and challenges in her life – with her greatest challenge being her mental disability,” shared her mother, Sandra. “But that hasn’t stopped her! She has worked hard and is greatly admired at her job for her consistent attendance and eagerness to do anything asked of her.”
Becky also worked a second job part-time with the goal of saving enough money to buy a new house nearby. Due to COVID-19, she was furloughed and lost an estimated $160 per week in income.
Her mother, Sandra, first learned about ABLE United in 2017, and decided to help Becky open an account of her own. “In the beginning, she didn’t have much income to contribute but we are grateful to have been able to save even a small amount as it has helped her through this challenging time,” explained her mother.
With an ABLE United account, Becky has been able to save and begin developing a financial emergency fund – which she ended up needing sooner than she thought.
“They say you should have six months’ worth of income saved to survive the ‘hard times’,” shared Sandra. “Maybe poor health or loss of a job or a natural disaster – whatever it is, you need the security of knowing you can pay your bills and put food on the table, especially if you don’t have family to help.”
When Becky retires, she will need far more than what she currently has saved. Her mother explained, “It is never too early and no amount is too little to contribute and start saving.”
Last year we transitioned our Customer Service and Records management to Sumday Administration, LLC. This transition not only added program enhancements—but also a new Customer Service team.
At ABLE United, we know that it’s critical to have a team that is reliable and prepared to answer important questions about saving with an ABLE account. You might have questions like:
- How do I know if I am (or my child) is eligible for an account?
- Does this purchase count as a Qualified Disability Expense?
- How does my ABLE United account work with SSI and/or Medicaid?
- How do I make a contribution or withdrawal?
- Can you help me enroll?
The good news is that our team is here to help—we can walk you through the enrollment process to help you get started saving today.
Ready to connect?
Our Customer Service team can be reached at 1-888-524-2253 (Mon–Fri, 9am–5pm ET), or 1-844-888-2253 TTY (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm ET).
The Florida Relay Service provides communications assistance to individuals with hearing, speech or vision disabilities. Dial 711.
As part of our recent account enhancements, Customer Service can now be reached via live chat. Just look for the blue chat button in the bottom right corner of our website during regular business hours and click to initiate a conversation, prior to or during the enrollment process. You can even request Customer Service to view your screen to help resolve an issue.
You can also contact our Customer Service team via email here.
As the world continues to cope with the impacts of the new coronavirus (COVID-19), we want to reassure you that we’re still here.
Given the ever-changing nature of this situation, ABLE United would like to remind and encourage account holders to take advantage of all our available online services. The fastest way to perform things like making contributions, withdrawals, address updates, or even changing your investment options, is to do so online.
Our Customer Service team stands ready to help you over the phone or via live chat on our website should you have any questions or need to make adjustments to your account.
We also encourage individuals who have any specific questions pertaining to the personal impact of COVID-19 to take advantage of the available resources.
Individuals receiving Supplemental Security Income may have to wait until May to receive their economic impact funds. These funds may be contributed to an ABLE account without impacting current or future public benefits. For more information visit:
IRS – Coronavirus Tax Relief
SSI and Economic Impact Payments
Social Security Association Beneficiaries with Dependents – April 20, 2020
Social Security Association Beneficiaries with Dependents – April 20, 2020 Spanish
We are sad that we won’t get the opportunity to see many of you at springtime events, but hope you’ll continue to engage with us via Facebook. In fact, we’d love to hear how you are passing the time at home whether that be a new hobby, creative exercises or spreading joy through your neighborhoods with kind gestures – tag us in your posts with @ABLEUnited.
We’ll see you again soon!
One in ten Floridians have a disability, but it’s not holding you back from pursuing your hopes and dreams to find a meaningful career, go to college, buy your first car or travel the world.
Throughout the month of February, we are celebrating you – the individuals we serve – and how you are pushing the boundaries not only in your lives, but in your communities. At ABLE United, we know that our account holders aren’t defined by their diagnosis – in fact, you embrace it by breaking out of societal norms and sharing your talents and passions with others.
The No Limits Campaign celebrates just that. But most importantly, it showcases how our account holders are Achieving a Better Life Experience through ABLE United.
Interested in sharing your story and how you’re saving with ABLE United? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line “No Limits 2020” and attach a photo for your chance to be featured on our Facebook page.
Not an account holder?
When you enroll in a new account anytime during the month of February and complete enrollment by depositing at least $25, you’ll receive a FREE $50 contribution on us.
Together we have no limits!
Enroll in a new ABLE United account between February 1, 2020 and February 29, 2020 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 February 1, 2020 and February 29, 2020. Funds earned will be deposited directly into your ABLE United account by March 31, 2020. 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.
Olivia and her twin sister, Adrianna, were born five weeks early, each weighing a little more than five pounds and no indication of disability. It wasn’t until Olivia was four months old that her parents, Tara and Jason, realized something wasn’t right.
The prognosis continued to be unclear until she was 18 months old and was formally diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
While Olivia has faced challenges over the years, now at the age of 21, she is a vibrant and passionate young woman. “She is almost always smiling,” said her mother, Tara. She loves music, planning her schedule, cooking with family – and most importantly, theater.
In 2017, the family learned about ABLE United from an organization called Let’s Cure CP.
“As I researched this amazing savings plan, I knew that it was an opportunity to invest for Olivia’s future life expenses,” explained Tara.
Today, Tara helps Olivia manage her finances and she deposits a portion of her monthly SSI income into her ABLE United account. They primarily use her account for saving for the future but have withdrawn money for items such as furniture for her apartment, as well as therapy.
“I opened her account on her behalf, so that she is able to save and invest, simply and cost effectively, with little maintenance or fees,” shared Tara, who recently became an ABLE United Brand Ambassador.
Her mother also shared, “My hope is that this account will continue to grow over the years, as well as give her flexibility and peace of mind as she lives her best life!”
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.