When it comes to finances, you have the right to be skeptical.
ABLE accounts may seem to have popped up out of nowhere, allowing eligible individuals with disabilities to save money like never before. When we explain the benefits, many people look for the “catch.” New ABLE accounts and the ABLEnow program can seem too good to be true. But ABLEnow already serves thousands of individuals across the nation, helping them save for the future and achieve great things. Let’s take a look at the origins of the program.
A Dream of Financial Inclusion
The truth is that ABLE accounts are the result of nearly a decade-long, cross-disability advocacy effort. The idea originated with a group of Virginia 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 the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS). This law has been heralded as one of the most significant pieces of disability legislation since the Americans with Disabilities Act.
ABLEnow Leads the Way
The federal legislation 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. Eligible individuals in all U.S. states are free to start their ABLE savings with ABLEnow.
Helping More People Dream, Save and Achieve
ABLEnow opened for national enrollment in December 2016. The program is administered by Virginia529, a Virginia state agency that’s been helping people save for more than 20 years. As the country’s largest college savings plan, Virginia529 serves more than two million customer accounts and manages $62 billion in college savings assets (as of March 31, 2017).
While legislation gives Virginia529 the responsibility to develop and manage ABLEnow, the agency considers it a privilege to leverage its experience and expertise to bring one of the country’s premier ABLE programs to life for the disability community.
A Commitment to Customers
You may not realize that the ABLEnow employees you meet at community events or contact through email, online chat or our toll-free telephone number are public servants who work for a state agency. They enthusiastically answer questions and share information about ABLEnow, but they’re not commissioned to “sell” you a product and they can’t provide legal, financial, tax or benefits advice. You’re encouraged to consult a professional to discuss your circumstance if you have specific concerns.
The creation of ABLE accounts was a major victory for the disability community, which fought for the opportunity to save for the future without fear of jeopardizing benefits. ABLEnow is honored to help people across the country dream, save and achieve. The ABLEnow team loves hearing stories about how the program is making a difference to customers in all 50 states.
In future articles, we’ll cover more ABLEnow questions you may be too afraid to ask. Topics will include picking the right ABLE program and what happens to an ABLE account when a beneficiary passes away.
In the meantime, please contact us with questions.