ABLE Accounts By Carrie Le, Health Information Specialist En Español
My son is almost 10, and my husband and I have talked about whether or not to open an ABLE Account for him for a few years. We currently have a Special Needs Trust in place that will be fully funded in the event of our death, but we didn’t have a good tool set up to start saving now. What were we going to do with the birthday and holiday monies he receives each year? Sure, some of it gets spent on the things he wants or needs at the time, but what about any leftover? Would we just put it in his piggy bank forever? Did we want to open a second Special Needs Trust? Also, what if he gets a job in a few years? Where would we put that money that wouldn’t make him vulnerable to losing his means-tested benefits? We were concerned about the possibility of Medicaid filing a claim against an ABLE Account if he were to pass away, so we looked at Indiana’s policy. We found that Indiana’s policy is that they won’t recapture monies from an ABLE Account unless they are federally required to do so. We also thought we could be strategic with how much money we keep in his account just in case that policy changes. The monies in an ABLE Account can be used for end-of-life costs, as well. After all of these considerations and more, we decided that it would be best for him and our family to open an ABLE Account.
Once we made the decision to open an ABLE Account, I started on the INvestABLE website. We could have looked at other states’ plan options, but decided this would be simpler for us. The INvestABLE website allows you to apply online or print and complete a paper application. I didn’t know if I’d be able to complete the application in one sitting, so I decided to fill out a paper application. The online application does have the option to save and return to complete it later if, like me, you don’t want to complete it all in one sitting. Most of the application was pretty straight forward, filling out contact information and such. While filling out the application, I had a question about the form. There was a phone number on the front page of the application to call. I called and very quickly got a response to my question. We also chose the checking investment option so that we’d receive a debit card to use for purchases. I also opted to get a checkbook. Other investment options included aggressive investment, moderate investment, conservative investment & investment for growth. Once I was done filling out the application, I mailed it with an initial deposit check and waited for a response. I was soon contacted by someone with INvestABLE because I had missed a question on the application. They were able to take the additional information needed over the phone to complete it, which was a relief. Within a month, we received notification that the account was set up, and we had his debit card and checks in hand!
So far, we’ve used our son’s ABLE Account just a few times. We’ve used it to pay for massages, as he has cerebral palsy that gives him spastic muscle tone, so the massages help him tremendously. There are multiple categories of expenses that qualify to use an ABLE Account. We’re also excited that if family members and friends want to give him birthday or holiday money, they can now contribute it directly to his ABLE Account. We also hope we can use this account to save for bigger items or travel he may want or need in the future.
Raising awareness of food allergies through the addition of non-food trinkets and toys to treats, making Halloween safer and more inclusive for all trick-or-treaters is the goal of the Teal Pumpkin Project. Find awareness information, resources, and printable pumpkin at the link.