Thanks to ABLEnow for sponsoring this post.
In December of 2011, my youngest son, Lucas, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. It came as no surprise to me since there were numerous red flags that had caused me to seek an Autism diagnosis in the first place, the most alarming of which was the loss of language he had acquired his first couple years of life. Those preschool years were filled with hours of research and therapies, all aimed at helping Lucas develop basic self-help, language and social skills. Now that he is in elementary school (3rd grade!!) the focus is on helping him catch up academically, develop more complex social skills and caring for his emotional and mental well-being.
I’ve also started thinking more about the future and what that will look like for him. I get asked if he will ever go to college, live on his own, and have a family and the truth is I don’t know. I hope he is able to and that is what we are working towards but, even though he is considered ‘high-functioning’, there are still many daily tasks that he needs assistance with and many other skills he has yet to master. He’s come so far in the past several years so I’m hopeful for his future but, in other ways, we’ve had new challenges and new diagnoses this past year that have made things even more difficult in some aspects. (While he struggles in so many ways though, I’m proud to share that his peers voted him on student council this year which was a huge win and really meant a lot to him because it showed him that he can achieve anything he wants to!)
Even though I can’t control the unknown future, there are some things I can do in the meantime to ensure financial-peace-of-mind. One of them is setting up an ABLEnow account for him. An ABLEnow account is a tax-advantaged savings account for eligible individuals with disabilities that we can use to pay for a variety of qualified disability expenses related to maintaining Lucas’ health, independence and quality of life. It provides a greater sense of financial independence and a reliable tool to build the best life possible.
These accounts are now possible thanks to the ABLE Act that was signed into law in December of 2014. Before the Act was passed, people with disabilities could not save for the future out of fear of losing their public benefits which is sad because people were basically being forced to stay in poverty and could never get ahead. Thanks to the ABLE Act and the new ABLEnow program (a national ABLE savings program offered by the Commonwealth of Virginia), eligible individuals can save and invest in a simple, affordable and tax-advantaged ABLEnow account without jeopardizing their eligibility for certain benefits that are critical to their health and well-being, such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). ABLEnow empowers people with disabilities to achieve more independence, greater financial security and a better quality of life.
Learn more about ABLEnow in the video below. (It’s important to note that ABLEnow, one of the country’s premier ABLE programs, is administered by the Commonwealth of Virginia, but available to eligible individuals in any U.S. state – whether your home state has an ABLE program or not.)
The ABLE National Resource Center offers a helpful comparison tool for state ABLE programs here so you can compare the programs for yourself but I feel like ABLEnow has such good advantages, like low fees and the ABLEnow debit card at no additional cost, that it’s worth looking into regardless of where you live. I also like that anyone can contribute to a loved one’s ABLEnow account. Contributions make an excellent gift for birthdays or holidays and won’t jeopardize much-needed disability benefits.
Have questions about the program that I haven’t answered? Check out ABLEnow’s FAQ section. If you want to open an account you can do so here (and good news busy moms and dads, it’s easy and quick to open and can all be managed online!)
Have you heard about the ABLE Act before? How would an ABLEnow account benefit your family member who has a disability?
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of ABLEnow.