By Jensen Caraballo
An ABLE account allows people with disabilities to establish a savings account without impacting benefits. ABLE allows a person to save money for qualified disability expenses while keeping their eligibility for federal public benefits. In order to be eligible for an ABLE account, a person must have a disability that began before the age of 26. I just opened up an ABLE account myself. This is exciting for me. I am hopeful about my future. I am hopeful about achieving some financial independence and freedom.
My name is Jensen Caraballo. I am a 32-year-old person of color with a disability. I am a strong advocate for disability rights and independent living. My ABLE account will allow me to Achieve a Better Life Experience for myself and my family. I will be able to save up money for assistive technology and other disability related expenses. I first heard about ABLE accounts when I started working for National Disability Institute (NDI) as a Marketing Coordinator for the Assistive Technology Loan Program. My supervisor, Laurie Schaller, informed me about ABLE accounts and I started doing my homework.
I learned all about the services and support NDI provides people with disabilities. They are dedicated to improving the financial stability of people with disabilities and their families. They are about financial inclusion, economic empowerment, financial education and asset development. What does this mean for me and other people with disabilities?
It means we can have a good future with financial empowerment and freedom to lead independent lives within the community. It means we can start planning for our futures with the help of NDI and programs like the ABLE National Resource Center. It means we no longer have to remain trapped in poverty. We can be free. We can secure a good future with lasting fulfillment and financial stability.
This has been an educational experience for me. I am now filled with hope about my future. If I want to save money for an accessible vehicle, I can. If I want to buy a house, I can do that, too. And it’s all thanks to my ABLE account. I am able to save without it impacting my benefits. This is groundbreaking for people with disabilities.
The sky’s the limit. People with disabilities and their families are able to move forward to attain a financially stable future. Creating an account is very simple. You just need to set aside time to do it. Once you do, though, you’ll be set for life.
In summary, ABLE accounts can and will help you if you are eligible. Look into them. Do some homework. Don’t take my word for it. See for yourself. You will not regret your decision. This is one of the best decisions you can make for yourself. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Small contributions over time can have a significant impact on quality of life.
For more information about ABLE accounts, visit the ABLE National Resource Center and use the comparison tool to compare state ABLE plans.
Jensen Caraballo (he/him) is a disability rights activist and writer. His work has been featured at the Center for Disability Rights and Not Dead Yet. He is a 32-year-old Queer and Disabled person of color born in Guayama, Puerto Rico. Jensen is passionate about dismantling ableism and firmly believes that all lives are worth living with dignity and respect.