April 24, 2018

Faces of ABLE: Kevin Sass

Faces of ABLE: Kevin Sass

Kevin Sass loves to use some of his small paycheck to buy movies on DVD – he’s a Mr. Ed, Andy Griffith and Disney kind of guy. He also loves to bowl, and he’s pretty good at it, too.

But one thing his mother really appreciates about Kevin is how faithfully he buys birthday cards for his cousins, aunts and uncles, whose birth dates he has memorized.

“We call him Mr. Calendar, because he knows what’s going on. He keeps me straight,” said Kathy Smith, who lives with her husband and Kevin in The Villages. “And he picks out the best cards; he’s so thoughtful in that way. He’s a joy, he really is.”

Kevin, who recently turned 40, has had a developmental disability since birth, when his umbilical cord was pinched and he didn’t get enough oxygen.

“He just doesn’t catch on to stuff, especially money,” Smith said. “We’ve been working on that for probably 35 years.”

Fortunately, Kevin’s mother knows a smart money move when she sees one – like Kevin’s ABLE United account. Through ABLE United, Floridians with disabilities can enroll in a tax-free savings and investment account without negatively impacting their government benefits.

“Growing up, we always were taught you give some to church, you put some into savings and you could spend the rest. That was just a part of it – you saved,” she said. That message used to be a frustrating one for people with disabilities who feared losing their benefits.

With the dawn of ABLE United accounts, Smith knew she should open an account for Kevin, but she didn’t right away. “I was thinking about it for a long time, but it’s like so many things: You just kind of put it off. You don’t sit down and do it,” she said.

Until, she heard about an upcoming drawing where one new account holder would win $1,000. Kathy thought, “Well for Pete’s sakes, I’m going to go ahead and do it. I’m not a lucky person, so when we won it, we were shocked!”

Kevin’s account is funded now with that $1,000 sweepstakes contribution, plus some inheritance money from his grandparents. Smith hopes to add to it in the future. They don’t have plans to spend it yet; in the meantime, it’s earning interest and is available in case of an emergency.