Episode 62: ABLEnow

K: This episode of The Accessible Stall was sponsored by ABLENow


E: If you wanna win $500 in a new or existing ABLENow Account, all you have to do is go to able-now.com/stall to enter.


(Intro Music)


E: Hi, I’m Emily Ladau


K: And I’m Kyle Khachadurian


E: And you’re listening to another episode of The Accessible Stall


K: What are we gonna talk about today, Emily?


E: ABLENow Accounts


K: What are ABLENow accounts?


E: Well, we’re not exactly experts, but big news this is our first sponsored episodes so we got the experts for you! 


(Party Horn squeals)


E: I’m pretty pumped because we had the opportunity to sit down with some pretty interesting and very well informed people, who told us about ABLENow accounts and more about ABLENow specifically. So we talked with Laura, and we talked with Chris, and we talked with Sarah  and they all had a lot to say about why ABLE accounts are so important for people with disabilities. 


K: And without further ado, here they are! First, we’re gonna sit down with Laura Robb. Laura is a really cool blogger from Virginia and she is a customer of ABLENow


E:I am so excited because we’re going to interview someone who I already know is really, really cool! So hello, to our special first guest! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and introduce yourself? 


L: Hey! I’m Laura Robb and I’m a writer and a speaker and I like talking about my life as a person with a disability and how I can thrive with my limits as I live within my community. And I have a really good community of friends and they help me go out in the community and have adventures and be a part of everyday life with them. And on my website https://www.lauracrobb.com/  I like to share stories about my life and show that my limits are not stopping me from doing things and chasing my own dreams and passions.


K: That was the most perfect introduction we could’ve asked for! Can you tell us a little bit about your disability if you don’t mind?


L: Sure, I don’t mind. I was born with Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita, it’s called AMC for short and I have what’s called a classic case so both my arms and legs are affected.  And the basic summary of Arthrogryposis is a lack of muscle mass, so I always say when I was a kid I looked like a pretzel. So I had a lot of Physical Therapy when I was a child and I did Serial Casting with my orthopedist instead of doing a bunch of surgeries that way I can be more mobile and functional and learn to walk, even though I didn’t walk until I was around 4 years old.  


E: You know, I have to laugh because I always have a little spiel that I give people when they ask what my disability is, Larsen’s Syndrome. And I’m like, “Yeah, when I was born I came out looking like a frog cause my knees were really bent.” I feel like everybody has that way that they describe their Disability to people so that it sounds more understandable or relatable. 


L: Right. Mine’s a pretzel, yours is a frog. 


E: Kyle, do you have one?


K: You know I don’t! But I can relate in that I was very late to the walking party, I was also around 4 years old. But I did not look like a pretzel or a frog


E: What about a doll? You looked like a doll!


K: Oh right, my parents did use to dress me up in doll’s clothes, there’s photographic evidence on our website, I did look like a baby doll!


E: So fun little tangent. But we’re really here to talk about ABLENow and ABLE Accounts. And you’re the perfect person to share some of your experiences with us. So can you tell us a little bit about ABLENow? 


L: Sure, I  actually originally learned about it through my case manager at the time, he was telling me the news about what had happened in the Disability World and then after that he gave me the summary and then I started Googling it on my own and reading websites and blogs and learning about it as it actually launched! And I thought about, “Is this something I want to do, can I do it?” And it kinda went from there. 


E: So basically when the ABLE Act passed, you learned about it and so you kinda did your own homework to see if it was the right fit for you?


L: Yes. So someone like planted the seed in my mind of, “Hey, check this out, I think you can benefit from this!” And I took that little piece of information and started my own advocacy work. 


K: Wow. That is legitimately fantastic. Can you please tell us about how ABLENow has benefited you personally? Like what has come of your life since you’ve learned about and opened this account?


L: Sure! For one thing I feel like there’s a freedom and I say I feel more “normal” that’s my word for it. I feel like financially I can actually have a savings and it doesn’t affect my supports and services and that’s like a huge step of independence that I didn’t have before ABLENow and I’ve already used it in some small ways like when I go to the Dentist I’m like, “Ooh let me use my ABLENow account for this! Or I just went away for the weekend and I can use it for traveling. Or I can just plan ahead for more long term ideas that I want to work towards. 


E: So speaking of those long term goals that you want to work towards do you have any big goals for the money that your saving up? I mean, you use the word “Normal” and it’s so true, like a normal part of life is having goals and saving up for them.


L: Yeah, I have a really big one. One is Grad School, I want to save money in order to go back to school and go through an online program. And now that I have ABLENow, I can say, “Hey! I can work toward this on my own and be independent!” And I also have travel goals; I really want to go to Europe or somewhere across the ocean!


E: I am so with you!


L: Last year I got my Passport for the first time  and now I have nine more years to go somewhere with Passport!


K: Yes, you’ve got it, now you’ve gotta use it


L: Yes, I’ve done the first step of going to Canada on a road trip but now I have to go further


E: You beat me, I haven’t been to Canada yet!


L: Oh it’s a really cool place! We did the Niagara Falls Route! 


E: Ooh! So look at that ABLENow already there to help you save up for your Travel Dreams and your Grad School Plans


K: Talk about, #goals, am I right?


(Emily and Laura chuckle)


L: Yeah I practiced this week and I was like, “Ooh I’m going to use my ABLENow Card!” I’m traveling right now

K: So tell us some things that a person should know before opening an “Able” or ABLENow account?


L: I guess the main thing is that to make sure for yourself personally that it doesn’t affect whatever benefits you receive or whatever supports and services and wherever you live, your ABLENow account won’t make you lose your supports and services or have them lapse for some reason. Which, I don’t think they will but just be clear on how the program works! And you can check out their website with all the Frequently Asked Questions and I’m sure you can talk to the Customer Service people. Just understand with the ABLENow accounts they provide a card, it’s like a debit card and I don’t know, I think there’s different ways the programs work. So just understand how it works ahead of time.


E: So you’re not alone in figuring that out. You know there are resources, you can go to ABLENow’s website you can find things out.


L: Yes


E: So you definitely are a good resource when it comes to talking about ABLENow. And  we know that you’re actually an ABLENow ambassador, so we’d love to hear the story of that. Because clearly you’re proving why you’re an ambassador from the conversation we’ve had so far. 


L: Oh yeah, so last year around the beginning of the summer is when I opened my account as a customer and at some point along the way I received a Newsletter in my email and they were looking for people because the program had been newly launched so they wanted customers to help spread the word and I was like, “Oooh I really want to apply for this!” It seemed like it was a really fun experience to share my passion and I’m really glad that this program exists now and I wanna tell people about it! And that is how it happened, I applied and I became an Ambassador.


E: And now you get to tell everyone about it on a podcast!


L: Yes! 


E: Which, Fun Fact: Laura told us this is her first time doing a podcast but I don’t think you wuld ever know that


K: She’s a natural, isn’t she?


L: Oh, Thank You! I’m having a lot of phone over here!


E: Oh good, so are we! So we’ve just got a couple more questions for you so that we can make sure that you can share all your knowledge with everyone. 


L: Okay


K: Why should other people with disabilities think about opening an ABLENow account?


L: I say first, “Why not?” It’s like another step towards more independence! And my opinion is that there are so many limits that like the Government or services puts on me as a Person with a Disability and it’s like I don’t want more layers of limits, I want more freedom! And this is another option to say, “I choose this” and, going back to the normal idea, “ Feel like a normal person financially.”


E: Kyle and I are over here like, “Yeah!”


K: We’re fangirling. You can’t see us, but like, incredible!


E: Right on!


L: Yeah I’m saying why not try it if it doesn’t mess up your services and it gives you more opportunities in your everyday life or even in your future goals. It’s like, why not figure out how to make it work and open up your own account? 


E: It’s worth a shot, right?


L: Yeah and you can always change your mind if it doesn’t work out for some reason. 


E: Yeah so, I think it sounds like a really good idea. 


L: Mhmm


K: Me too


E: So we always do this thing on our Podcast “Final Takeaways” So what is it that you really want people to know? Or is there anything else that we haven’t asked you that you want to make sure everybody knows about ABLENow and Able Accounts?


L: Hmm. I think just do your own homework first. And it’s also like a tricky topic in a way because not everyone talks about financial limits and rules and the Government services and how that is limiting but I feel like there has to be an openness in the world of Disability and say “Hey, we have these limits but now ABLENow and programs like it are moving forward in the right way.” And I think just be honest with the community of people you live with or live around in that way if you do have future goals, like my travel goals. You have to say, “Hey, I’m saving up some money, but I want to invite you into my future goal. Will you go travel with me?” Or something like that.


E: Yeah I mean, money is so taboo, right?


L: Yes!


K: It’s unfortunate, especially when you are a person with a disability that has expenditures that the average person may or may not. 


L: Right and a lot of people don’t understand those dynamics. I’m like, “Okay, we need to talk a little bit about it in a healthy way!” And that way if we want to focus on our goals we can actually have people to actually help us achieve them. ‘Cause we can’t do it alone! No one goes through life alone, and I as a Disabled Person have to navigate other details that other people don’t.


E: Yeah. I think that if there’s one thing I’m taking away from all this, is that we need to be talking about this. It’s like the only way progress is gonna happen and the way we can improve financial situations with the limits that can be placed on us is by having  conversations.


L: And by talking about it, it opens the door for hopefully more change in the future. 


E: Could not agree more! I think this was fabulous, I feel way more excited about the prospect of ABLENow accounts just from hearing you talk about them. So thank you so much !


L: Yeah thanks for having me!


K:  It’s been a pleasure 


Part 2: Kyle (Voiceover) Next up we have Chris Rodriguez with the ABLE National Resource Center


E: Okay so we are here with Chris Rodriguez and we would love for you to tell us a little bit about who you are, a little bit about what you do and who you represent


C: Absolutely, absolutely. Thank you so much Emily, I appreciate the opportunity to be with you today! Again, my name is Chris Rodriguez, I am the Director of Public Policy for the National Disability Institute, which is a non-profit that is based in Washington D.C. And what kind of focuses our attention is helping People with Disabilities realize new economic mobility and financial self-sufficiency. We have many projects, but the one I’m most excited to focus on today is our ABLE National Resource Center, of which I’m also the director. And the ABLE National Resource Center is really a collaborative of over 25 of the largest Disability organizations that have all come together and that are managed, at least the center is managed by the NDI, The National Disability Institute. We’ve all come together for the purpose of accelerating the purpose of development and maintenance of ABLE accounts across the country. So I’m not sure how much of your audience is aware of ABLE, but just to be quick I know we’re gonna get into more detail but the ABLE Act was passed in late 2014, and what it does in it’s most simple sense, is it allows People with Disabilities to open these tax advantage savings account in which anybody can contribute into the account and the funds that are contributed in and stored in these ABLE accounts are actually not taken into consideration in terms of  the beneficiary or the person with the disability’s eligibility for benefits such as Medicaid and Social Security. So the entire center really is a one stop shop for everything you want to know about ABLE Accounts so that people who are eligible to open these accounts and their families are comfortable doing so, and reaping the vast benefits and the transformative benefits that are associated with being able ABLE account owner. 


E: That’s super helpful for us to know because we are actually learning right along with our listeners about ABLE accounts. We both have the basic knowledge of the ABLE act and the importance of ABLE accounts but it’s really good to hear it from the experts.  


K: That’s excellent. Would you mind giving us a brief rundown of exactly why ABLE accounts are so important to People with Disabilities?


C: Yeah, absolutely Kyle, and it’s really important to note. So some of the work we do at NDI, The National Disability Institute focuses around anti-poverty strategies for People with Disabilities and before you can start to address the issue of poverty among People with Disabilities you really have to understand why are people with disabilities so disproportionately impoverished compared to their typically abled peers?  And while their are many reasons that we try and address through many different solutions not the least of which is the fact that many people with disabilities have special healthcare needs. And these special healthcare needs can oftentimes only be addressed by the supports and services provided by the Medicaid program, which is an incredible, incredible program for people with disabilities and provides certain supports and services, vital supports and services to help people with disabilities live independently and in the community of which these supports can not be found through or cannot be found through your employer based insurance programs typically, or the insurance programs that you purchase on the open market. So that’s what makes Medicaid so important to people with disabilities, but at the same time, Medicaid and other federally funded programs that assist people with disabilities often have certain eligibility criteria related to them. And one of those often, are Asset Limits. So it  basically states that in order to be eligible for a program like Medicaid which provides vital supports and services to people with disabilities, you also cannot have typically more than $2000 worth of savings or assets, or else your eligibility for your supports and services through these federally funded programs is put into jeopardy. So that basically shackles people with disabilities to a life of poverty as a result of their needs. And obviously that is a huge issue, and there’s different ways people with disabilities can try to address it but they really have fallen short until ABLE came along. And again, what ABLE allows a person to do is to set up a tax advantage savings account…Actually, it’s a savings account but it’s really more of an investment account of which anyone can contribute funds into a person’s ABLE Account. That includes your friends, your family, your employer, certainly yourself; the person with the disability themselves can contribute into their own ABLE Account. And the funds that are in that ABLE account are used to help offset  Disability related expenses. As I’m sure you guys know and as I know, having a brother who lives in Texas with my folks who has an ABLE Now Account, and to be in a unique position to watch some of the challenges that he’s had, we know that oftentimes living a life with a Disability is often associated with extra costs, that’s just a fact. ABLE allows for these funds to help offset these extra costs often associated with living a life with a Disability. And then in addition to that, what really makes it special is that the funds in the account can grow into the tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars are not taken into account when determining your eligibility for any federally funded means tested benefit. That includes Medicaid, and others. So it really is a transformative law and a transformative opportunity to build a better financial future for people with disabilities and their families.  


E: So as someone who is on Medicaid this particularly resonates with me because I am constantly grappling with the asset caps, and it’s not that I can drop Medicaid because I recieve services from it! Particularly Physical Therapy


C: Absolutely


E: Which is so important to have and so I really on a personal level relate to this sort of balancing act that happens and that’s why ABLE accounts really do interest me! And so I’d love if you could tell us more about who is eligible to open an ABLE Account. I know we’ve talked about this a lot in terms of people who are receiving long term supports and services and benefits and things like that but who’s eligible? and are there benefits to have an ABLE account for someone who’s not currently receiving Disability benefits?


C: Right, right. Those are great, questions Emily! So in terms of eligibility to be able to have an ABLE account, this is very, very important. Unfortunately, not all people with disabilities to be eligible to open up an ABLE Account and the eligibility around that is really a two prong eligibility criteria both of which need to be satisfied. The first, in the law it states that the individual would have had to had the onset of disability, prior to their 26th birthday. So that doesn’t mean that you couldn’t be thirty, forty, fifty years old and sign up for an ABLE account and maintain an ABLE account, but what it does mean is that you would have to had experienced your Disability before your 26th birthday in order to open up an account. And that’s really unfortunate, and  in fact Emily, that provision within law didn’t exist throughout the legislative history, and in fact, it was introduced towards the end in order to bring down the cost of the law, so that it would have the support to become the law with the understanding that members of Congress would come back as soon as they could so they could increase that age so that it could more readily fulfill the spirit of the legislation. And in fact, there’s a Bill that’s pending both in the House and the Senate right now that would take that 26 up to 46. So I hope that folks, if they’re so inclined and I think that it’s a good thing obviously to call your Representatives and Senators and encourage them to support what’s called the ABLE Age Adjustment Act which would allows millions of more people with Disabilities to be eligible for an ABLE Account. 


So that’s my quick spiel about that piece of legislation but moving back to eligibility. So we talked about the age type provision so that would be the first prong. You had to have an onset of Disability before the age of 26, so let’s say that you’ve checked that off… The next prong, with respect to eligibility relates to the severity of that disability and there’s actually two different ways that you can satisfy this. Again, you’ve already checked off the age provision, and the first one under the prong of severity would be if you’re currently receiving SSI or SSDI. So that’s Supplemental Security Income, or Social Security Disability Insurance which basically means you’ve gone through the long and difficult process of becoming eligible and you’re receiving benefits through Social Security as a result of your disability. So if you had that annd your disability occurred before age 26,  you’re good to go, you can start shopping around and figuring out which ABLE program best meets your needs. But let’s say you have a disability, you have an onset before age 26, but for whatever reason you’re not receiving SSI or SSDI. Perhaps you’re in a determination period, perhaps you have a job and your income excludes you from being eligible but you could still benefit from being able to put money in a tax advantage savings account that grows tax free to help you pay for disability related expenses. You could still be eligible to open up an account, but you’d have to have what’s called a “Disability Certification” And in order to get this, you would just have to go to a licensed physician and you would just have to have them write down and document your particular diagnosis along with them stating that you meet a certain level of severity that’s laid out in the language of the law. You would have that, you don’t have to submit it, but you would have to sign under penalty of perjury that you have that and then you can move forward and open up your ABLE Account. And that’s basically the two prong eligibility criteria, of which one could change hopefully in the near future if we could pass the Adjustment Act. Another great question that you had Emily, was, “Are ABLE Accounts just for people who are on public benefits?” And the answer is, “No.” There’s incredible benefits that can be derived regardless if you happen to be on SSI or Medicaid or what have you. And that really speaks to the incredible tax advantages that these accounts have. They’re really investment accounts. So when you choose an ABLE program that’s right for you, during the process you’re going to be given a suite or different options of investments that you would like your contributions to be put in. And in fact, provided that we’re a good market and you’ve made good choices in respect to the investment choices you’ve picked, those grow just like they would grow in any circumstance. But in most circumstances, the growth is actually taxed where in an ABLE Account the growth is not taxed, so it’s considered tax free growth which is an incredible, incredible benefit and it can grow and grow and grow. Additionally, while a person might not currently need Medicaid or SSI or things like that, perhaps they’re gonna need it down the road. Many times  people with disabilities, as a result of their disabilities they become more severe as you age. I’ve seen this with my brother. And that way you can save for the future wherein if you would have had a savings account or an employment based retirement plan and then later on in life you needed to be qualified for Medicaid, likely you would not be eligible because you have those funds, but if you had been putting them into an ABLE Account that whole time you would have easier access to be provided services and supports through Medicaid down the road. 


K; You know, I’m really glad you touched on the second prong of your criteria that there are going to be people who are disabled but do not receive benefits because that is me! So you just actually, you taught me something…which is that I am in fact, eligible for an ABLE Account, and I did not know that. So I was curious, what should people be looking for when they’re comparing all these different kinds of programs. Are there any states that do maybe tax advantages differently, are there features that are unique to a certain state’s program? I understand this varies from individual to individual but what are some things these individuals should look for when “shopping for these accounts.


C: Right, right. 


E: Especially because we’re talking about ABLENow in particular, we want to learn how people can comparison shop. 


C: Absolutely so that’s a great question. You’re touching on an important aspect of ABLE that I’ll just say flat out is the fact that no individual is prohibited from enrolling in ABLE Program outside of their state of residency. So oftentimes that’s a big misnomer that people think, “Oh, I live in Texas so I have to enroll in the Texas Program.” Or, “Oh I live in Wisconsin and they don’t have an ABLE Program, therefore I’ll never be able to be an ABLE account owner unless I move to another state.” Which is not all true. The majority of states that have launched programs are actually enrolling people now nationwide. And that’s certainly the case with ABLENow, the ABLE program that’s based out of the state of Virginia. So it doesn’t matter if I live in Texas, California, Ohio, whatever…If I think it’s the best program for me, I can enroll in ABLENow.


E: And so one thing that I picked up on while you were giving all the information comparing programs, is qualified Disability expenses,you used the example of rent. Can you talk a little bit about what counts as a qualified expense that you can use your ABLE Account for?


C: Absolutely, absolutely. So, you’ll here that term a lot when you’re having ABLE conversations. A Qualified Disability Related Expense or QDEs for short…And when we were working with the Department of the Treasury and IRS which is ultimately the Federal entity that oversees these accounts and makes sure that they are being used appropriately. And they were working through, “What exactly does that mean?” They knew they were going to have to give people a little direction, some definition so they could better understand just what these funds are allowed to be used on. And they came up with this definition. It basically is any expenses that is related to the person’s disability that is for their benefit and that helps them increase or maintain their health, independence, and/or quality of life. So Emily, as you can imagine that’s an incredibly broad definition and we encouraged them to write it that way because we have a great appreciation for the vast differences and needs of different people with disabilities and we wanted to make sure that it could cover as many needs as possible. 


E: And I think that that covers so much information, that we’re probably going to wrap up!


Kyle (Voiceover) And finally, we’re gonna sit down with Sarah Pennington with ABLENow.


E: Alright I’m really excited because we have Sarah Pennington with us who is with ABLENow and she’s gonna fill us in on all the exciting details about ABLENow accounts and tell us a little bit about how and why you can open one!


S: Yeah thank you guys for having me! I’m excited to talk about ABLE accounts and of course our ABLENow program. So ABLENow is a national ABLE program that’s open to ABLE elligible individuals in all fifty states. You can open the account right on our website, www.able-now.com and as you may be aware the Federal ABLE Act,  really what it did was it allowed States to set up these ABLE programs similar to the 529 College Savings Accounts that have been around for over twenty years. And not every state has an ABLE Program, but the cool thing is the ABLE Act allows individuals to open in any national ABLE Program. So you don’t have to open in your own State, you can actually shop around to find an ABLE Program and ABLENow is one of the fastest growing and largest ABLE programs in the country. We’ve been around for almost two years now, we opened in 2016, we were one of the early ABLE programs to open, the first year that ABLE Accounts  became available. And our program is administered by the Virginia 529 College Savings Account. It is the largest College Savings Account in the country, we have over 2 million customers and we manage over 60 billion dollars, that’s billion with a “B” in college savings assets. So a lot of folks are familiar with our college savings programs and know that we have a really great and established a reputation for helping people save…  or what we say Dream, Save and Achieve. So folks who are looking for an ABLE program have chosen ABLENow for that reason as well as for some of the other features of our ABLENow Program. 


K: That sounds really cool! So you mentioned that ABLENow is open to People with Disabilities across the entire country and not just people in Virginia.


S: Right


K: So what are some of the reasons that people should choose your program over perhaps, their own State’s program?


S: Yeah so in addition to the reputation of Virginia 529 which administers our programs, we’ve really listened when we were building our program before we launched. We really listened to the Disability Community and talked to potential customers to understand what they were looking for in an ABLE program and we worked really hard to bring that to life and build a really great program and we’re constantly listening to customers and looking to improve as well. So some of the features that customers will physically shop around and compare: One is fees. So with ABLE Accounts there are administrative fees that you pay really that help the programs be established and provide a website and information security and help manage your money. Our fees are some of the lowest in the country. It’s $3.25 a month no matter what state you live in. And that adds up to $39 a year, and we completely waive that fee if you save ten-thousand dollars in your ABLENow deposit account. So that’s a really great way to have a low fee, lower than a lot of other programs out there and if you can meet that goal of having ten-thousand dollars in your account, there’s no administrative fee to have an ABLENow account and people really like that. Another thing that people compare and look for is how easy is it to access the money in the account? And our ABLE program offers a debit card at no additional cost to customers and that’s a really easy way to use the money in your account. Some folks are saving  the money for really long term so their contributing for really long term and they don’t plan on touching it for ten years or longer. So their not using the money in the account. But a lot of our other customers, their using the funds in their ABLENow accounts  on everyday expenses. So they might be saving their paychecks into their account or they might be receiving gifts and then they use the money on everyday living expenses such as transportation, housing, stuff that they buy everyday. And having the ABLENow debit card is a good way to be able to easily access the funds in your account. It’s accepted anywhere Visa is, and there’s no additional cost to having that ABLENow card. And then additionally, you know that anyone can contribute to an ABLENow account. So it’s a cool way to receive birthday gifts, holiday gifts without impacting your benefits, that kind of thing. So we offer a website, we call it our “Gifting Portal” and that’s a website that you can share as a customer with family and friends. All they need is your Name and Account Number and they can put gifts directly into your ABLENow account. And customers really like that. We’ve had folks that share it with Grandparents, friends, family who are wanting to give them a monetary gift into their ABLENow account and we make it really easy to do that. 


E: So, with all these cool features it sounds like it’s definitely worth opening an ABLENow account. Now I know that there’s not a super high Open rate for these accounts. And I wonder if it’s because people don’t know how easy it is and what the features and perks are. So can you tell us a little bit more about that and then also tell us how you open an ABLENow account?


S: Yeah, you’re right Emily. We really are working hard to spread the word about ABLE Accounts and I appreciate you talking about them on your podcast! I don’t know if you all have heard the statistics but there are eight million people who are eligible for an ABLENow account. But today, only twenty-five thousand ABLE Accounts have been opened across the country. That’s just not our program, that’s  in any ABLE program nationwide. So there is a huge gap between eight million and twenty-five thousand of people who are eligible to save in an ABLE account and not impact any of their means tested Disability benefits such as Medicaid or SSI and save in a tax advantaged account. The money grows free from Federal taxes that you invest in an ABLE account so that’s really cool too, but they’re not taking advantage of it. So we’re really working hard with all kinds of organizations and advocates to spread the word about these programs, It’s really easy…The ABLENow program was designed to be Accessible and affordable to start saving. So you open the account on our website, and that’s www.able-now.com and most folks you click, “Open An Account” right at the top of the page and for most folks it takes less than an hour, sometimes as short as fifteen minutes to get started saving. All you need is basic information like your name, Social Security Number, bank account to get your account started and then once it’s open you can link your bank account information and that’s how you can easily contribute online. You can also mail in a check if you want as well but we make it really, really accessible to get started and have an ABLENow account


K: That’s actually a pretty excellent segue into our next section because in partnership with you guys…You guys are giving an opportunity to win $500 in a brand new ABLENow account so why don’t you tell us a little bit about that. 


S: Yeah so we wanna get your listeners excited if they are eligible to open an ABLE account. And you can actually go to our website, we have an eligibility quiz right on our website www.able-now.com and you go through…  I think it’s three or four questions and it tells you if you’re eligible to open an ABLENow account. And all those eligibility guidelines are set by the ABLE Act so that would be the same for any ABLE Program across the country. If you are eligible for an ABLE Account, we would love to entice to learn more about the program so we’re offering your listeners to win a $500 ABLENow account by going to www.able-now.com/stall and they can enter to win that $500 account and I think that would be a great way for one of your listeners to get started in saving in their ABLE account to pad it with a little bit of money!


K: I mean, I’m excited, how about you Emily?


E: Yeah, I’m into it! And so, now that we know about the exciting little giveaway which, as far as I’m concerned is totally the most important thing here


K: Yeah obviously!


E: But really though, it’s really important to hear about what ABLE Accounts can do for people with disabilities but if you had to give a Final Takeaway as we like to call them, or maybe even an elevator pitch just to tell somebody with a disability why they should open up an ABLE account what would you tell them?


S: You know, I would say ABLE Accounts and the ABLENow program we are all about providing and hoping folks achieve financial independence. It is really empowering to have your own account that you can save in and make short- term and long- term financial goals. And with ABLENow you can achieve that by opening and saving in your own ABLE Account and we’re really excited to spread the word and provide this new product for elligible Americans with disabilities. And we hop folks do their homework and consider starting their account and being able to save without impact any of their means tested supports and services. 


E: Great! Thank you so much for joining us! We really appreciate it! How was that for our first sponsored episode!

K: So good!


E: And I feel like I learned a lot too so I hope everyone else did!


K: Yeah we definitely learned so much from this experience!


E: And on that note we would like to thank Laura and Chris and Sara for being really, really awesome guests and also remind you that you have a chance to win $500 to be put in a new or existing ABLENow account so if you want to do that all you have to do it go to www.able-now.com/stall