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)
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 share the account enhancements now available to our customers.
• FDIC-insured savings option to give you peace of mind
• Live chat with customer service
• New gifting page to allow others to support you in reaching your savings goals
Manage Your Money Your Way
The FDIC Savings Fund is an FDIC-insured savings account option. 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 option allows you to earn interest generally comparable with a traditional bank savings account.
Customers now have greater flexibility to manage their money their way – by allowing the account holder to select which fund(s) to withdraw money from – making it easy to manage your investments separate from your savings.
Connect with Us
We want to hear from you! You can now reach our customer service team via online chat, as well as by telephone.
More Ways to Save
Anyone may contribute to an account on behalf of the individual with a disability, including family and friends and other community support organizations, like a church or civic group.
Now it is easier than ever to contribute to an individual’s ABLE United account with the enhanced ABLE United gifting page. The unique gifting page allows the individual to show a savings goal if desired, and provides for easy sharing through social media and email.
We encourage account holders to take advantage of the new, enhanced gifting page to continue to build their savings for a better life experience.
When you ask Samantha Short what she’s most excited about right now – her answer is becoming a “dog mom” this upcoming May. The Miniature Goldendoodle will be trained as a service dog to help detect seizures due to her epilepsy diagnosis.
“Sam has been able to live independently over the past year and a half thanks to ABLE United,” said her mother, Tracey. “We’ve been saving since the day we opened her account for her first house – one with a big yard so her service dog has plenty of room to run and play.”
In 2018, Samantha passed the Florida childcare training requirements in order to receive her Child Development Associate credential and obtain a job with a childcare facility in her hometown of Clearwater.
“My biggest wish for her is that she will have the opportunity to obtain all of the life skills she needs for independence,” said Tracey. “But most of all, happiness.”
Most recently, she is training to be a certified dog walker at the Humane Society and also works at their Holiday Kid’s Camps where she educates children on proper animal care and handling – all of which provide a paycheck that gets deposited into her ABLE account.
“Each penny saved is a penny earned,” Tracey explained.
Due to Samantha’s seizures, she’s unable to drive a car, so the Short family is also putting money away to buy a golf cart.
As we begin a new year, we at ABLE United are reflecting on all that we’ve accomplished, but most importantly, on the number of truly inspiring stories we’ve told of the individuals that we come in contact with each day.
We began the Faces of ABLE campaign shortly after our program launch due to the overwhelming number of stories that we heard from account holders. In short, this campaign serves as a simple reminder for why we do what we do.
We want to say thank you to those of you who have shared your stories not only with us, but with our community:
If you’d like to nominate a family member, friend or colleague with a disability that lives every day with an enviable spirit, please share your nominations with Rachel at email@example.com.
As the end of 2018 draws near…
we’re taking time to reflect on all that we’ve accomplished together this year. Florida was one of the first states in the nation to launch a qualified ABLE program, and in a little more than two years, 2,700 Floridians with disabilities have opened an ABLE United account and have contributed more than $13.5 million to their accounts.
“With nearly 13 percent of the state population reporting a disability, we have devoted our time to understanding what Floridians are looking for in ABLE United,” said John Finch, ABLE United Director. “And the best part is – we’re just getting started.”
It is our mission to help people like you and your loved ones save money to cover costs that support health, independence, and quality of life without negatively impacting federal benefits like Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid.
“We’re pleased to see that ABLE United is allowing Floridians with disabilities to save like never before,” said Kevin Thompson, Executive Director of ABLE United. “For years, individuals receiving federal benefits were dramatically limited in the amount of money they could save, but now, they have an opportunity to truly invest in their financial future.”
This holiday season, we’re grateful to those of you who have taken the first step in securing a brighter future. And from all of us at ABLE United, we wish you a very happy holidays and a wonderful New Year full of opportunities to make your dreams come true.
ABLE United provides opportunity for young woman to give back to community
At the age of 18, Faith-Christina Duncan is proof that individuals with disabilities can succeed – she is not only an ambassador with the Best Buddies program in Central Florida, but also plays an important role with the Down Syndrome Association’s local chapter. For more than five years, she has made and donated baby blankets and burp cloths for parents with newborn babies who have been diagnosed with Down syndrome.
“This gives the parents hope of what their child can and will do in the future,” said Nancy-Carole Duncan, Faith-Christina’s mother. “We utilize her ABLE United account to save funds, so she can continue to purchase fabric and materials for these endeavors that she is so passionate about.”
Faith-Christina’s work is also on display on the walls of the Best Buddies Orlando and the Down Syndrome of Central Florida offices.
“We utilize her ABLE United account to save funds, so she can continue to purchase fabric and materials for these endeavors that she is so passionate about.”
In addition to saving for her passion projects, she is using her ABLE account to save for the future, so she can live independently of her parents. In May, she will graduate from high school and plans to attend Valencia College, where she hopes to receive her Bachelor of Science degree in American Sign Language.
“Attending college also comes with a price,” said Nancy-Carole. “We continue to put money into her ABLE account and watch it grow tax-free.”
The Duncans plan to utilize funds saved in the account to pay for their daughter’s college tuition and books.
At ABLE United, we’re thankful for our account holders – and also for the significant strides made this year that make it easier than ever to save for their futures.
Removal of Medicaid Recovery
The Florida legislature took the first steps to amend Florida ABLE statutes and remove Medicaid recovery from ABLE United accounts. The implementing bill clarifies that any remaining funds in an ABLE account must first be distributed for qualified disability expenses then transferred to the estate of the designated beneficiary. Additionally, Florida’s Medicaid program may not file a claim for Medicaid recovery of funds in an ABLE account.
These changes will be in effect until June 2019. The hope is that legislation introduced in the 2019 session will make this change permanent.
529 College Saving Rollovers
Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed into law last year, families can rollover funds from a 529 college savings account into an ABLE account. Families who were saving for higher education expenses for their child with a disability now have the opportunity to rollover funds to an ABLE account – although, these types of rollovers do count towards the $15,000 annual maximum contribution limit.
So, if there is a remaining balance in the 529 college savings account after completing this rollover, we encourage you to take advantage of initiating another rollover each calendar year.
As the year winds down, it’s important to start planning your final contributions for 2018 – account holders can contribute a total of $15,000 to their accounts this calendar year. The contribution limit will then reset on January 1, 2019, which allows the opportunity to save up to $15,000 next year.
We look forward to all that’s in store for the future and introducing our account enhancements in the coming weeks.
ABLE United provides options no matter what Gunner’s future holds
Gunner Brandt is a happy, spirited young boy who loves the outdoors – and as a South Florida native that includes being in or on the water. Diagnosed with autism at the age of three, and more recently with speech apraxia, Gunner does not let his limited verbal communication skills impact how he shows his affection and appreciation for those that help him throughout his day.
“He wakes up with a smile on his face and jumps on the bed – excited for the day,” says Phoebe St. Germain Fellows, Gunner’s mother and an ABLE United brand ambassador. Gunner’s enthusiasm for life is contagious.
Prior to the launch of ABLE United, Fellows attended a workshop at Nova Southeastern University’s Miami campus where she was introduced to the program that would allow her to begin saving tax-free for her son’s future.
“I am grateful that ABLE United exists not just for my son, but for all Floridians,” said Fellows. “My mother has been in the finance industry for years, and we had struggled to find a solution given the limitations he may face with a special needs trust and also his college savings account that we had opened for him when he was born.”
“Like all parents, my hope is that my son is able to live a happy and healthy life – and that he has the opportunity to work independently and save his money as I believe individuals with disabilities can make a real impact when they are encouraged to work in fields that they love,” Phoebe St. Germain Fellows
Every day, ABLE United works to provide individuals with disabilities the opportunity to save for a better life experience, and Fellows and her family continue to add funds to Gunner’s account on a yearly basis.
In the future, account holders will have options – no matter what their future holds. New enhancements to ABLE United accounts include the ABLE to Work integration, which allows a beneficiary who is working and not contributing to a retirement plan, the ability to contribute above the $15,000 annual maximum contribution limit.