It was 2016, two years after President Obama signed into law a bill called the ABLE Act, giving states the power to create a new type of savings account to help pay the expenses for individuals with developmental disabilities. Social work case manager Amy Corbin answered the call to help make the ABLE program operational in Indiana. As Executive Director of INvestABLE, she now serves as agency and board representative to elected officials, the public and the national ABLE industry.
Corbin has spent the past five years developing the program and establishing collaborations, constantly fighting for funding for operations and marketing for the fledgling program. Today, she is proud to report, more than 1,100 accounts have been established, with an average balance of $7,600. While the growth has been steady, creating community awareness remains the biggest hurdle, Corbin admits.
At Geyer Law, we often work with parents of special needs children. While developing a special needs trust is an important strategy for providing ongoing financial resources for disabled individuals, adding an INvestABLE account into the planning offers opportunities for special needs adults to exercise a unique level of financial independence.
INvestABLE accounts are similar to 529 College Savings Accounts in several ways:
- Investment earnings are not taxed.
- Withdrawals are not taxed if the money is used for qualified expenses.
- Parents, grandparents, and friends may contribute to funding the account in addition to the disabled individual.
INvestABLE accounts have special advantages for disabled individuals:
- Individuals may accumulate savings without endangering eligibility for SSI and Medicaid (even if the value of the account exceeds the resource limit for means-tested government benefits).
- Unlike the case with a special needs trust (where a trustee must approve withdrawals from the account), the INvestABLE account holder may make withdrawals and deposits at will. (Corbin shared the story of a disabled individual whose ability to use his INvestABLE debit card to pay his own cell phone bill increased his sense of independence).
Legislation pending in the House and Senate, called the ABLE Age Adjustment Act, Amy Corbin explains, would greatly increase the number of individuals eligible to establish ABLE accounts by raising the “age of onset of disability” from 26 to 46.
The acronym ABLE stands for Achieving a Better Life Experience. As our Geyer Law blog team interview with Executive Director Amy Corbin confirmed, we at Geyer Law agree that INvestABLE accounts go a long way towards enhancing the quality of life for disabled individuals in Indiana.
– by Ronnie of the Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates Blog Team.