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Wednesday, 11 April, 2018

ABLE National Resource Center Announces Inaugural ABLE Advisory Group

The ABLE National Resource Center (ANRC) announced today the launch of its inaugural ABLE Advisory Group. The nine Individuals in the first cohort consist of working-age adults with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities. The ABLE Advisors have a wide range of motivations for opening an ABLE account and short- and long-term financial goals for how funds in their accounts will be used to help them increase their health, independence and quality of life. The Advisors also represent a diverse selection of ABLE programs, types of disabilities, geographic locations, ages, gender, race and ethnicity.

The following individuals have been selected to serve as 2018 ABLE Advisors:

  • Larry Angeli - Farmington Hills, MIParent, Michigan MiABLE Program
  • Regina Bradley – Buffalo, MO – Parent, Missouri MO ABLE Program
  • Al Elia – Washington, D.C. – Massachusetts Attainable ABLE Program
  • Lauren Hughes – Caldwell, ID – Parent, Oregon ABLE for All Account Program
  • Rachel Mast – Olathe, KS – Kansas ABLE Program
  • Edward Mitchell Jackson, TN – Tennessee TN ABLE Program
  • Kathryn Oliver – Austin, TX – Ohio STABLE Account Program
  • Sarah Perez – Norfolk, VA – Michigan MiABLE Program
  • Cheryl Walfall-Flagg – Raleigh, NC – Parent, NC ABLE Account Program

The role of the ABLE Advisors will be twofold. As the human face of ABLE, Advisors will be national spokespersons for ABLE accounts. ABLE accounts are tax-advantaged savings accounts that have the potential to significantly increase the health, independence and quality of life of individuals with disabilities, without jeopardizing eligibility for benefits provided through programs such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Through sharing their experiences and stories as ABLE account holders, Advisors will impart knowledge of successful strategies for utilizing ABLE accounts to achieve personal goals to millions of ABLE-eligible individuals. 

“ABLE accounts are a down payment on freedom for millions of individuals with disabilities and their families,” Christopher J. Rodriguez, Director of the ANRC, said. “Yet, public knowledge of ABLE accounts is somewhat lacking and enrollment in ABLE programs still has significant room for growth.” 

Said Regina Bradley, the mother of two young children with Down syndrome, "I am saving for both of my children's futures. I want my son and daughter to be able to live a comfortable life in their own homes when they are ready to be independent. I want to make sure they have the opportunity for reliable transportation to medical appointments and jobs. I also hope this will provide them the opportunity to travel, learn or take part in extracurricular activities."

Kathryn Oliver, a self-advocate who has cerebral palsy, said, “I am currently using my ABLE account as a means to save for a down payment on a home. Additionally, as an ABLE Advisor, I want to serve as an example that people with disabilities can take an active role in their own futures. I hope that my knowledge and experiences can serve as a meaningful example to others, who may be unsure of the process around ABLE accounts.”  

The launch of ANRC’s ABLE Advisory Group coincides with Financial Capability Month. This April observance, also commonly referred to as Financial Literacy Month, is a time for all Americans to increase their knowledge of personal finances and to encourage others to do the same. The ABLE Advisory Group was created to support the efforts of the ANRC in bridging this knowledge gap through dissemination of timely and accurate information. 

As a stakeholder focus group, ABLE Advisors will also provide feedback and recommendations on a number of ANRC items, including the AchievABLE app, the ANRC website, a new ANRC Call Center, ABLE webinars and more. Input gathered by the Advisors will mold the ANRC’s activities and provide an overall direction for its work. 

To learn more about the individuals selected to be a part of the 2018 ABLE Advisory Group, or for information about ABLE accounts and the ABLE National Resource Center, please visit ablenrc.org.

About ABLE National Resource Center

ABLE National Resource Center (ANRC) is a collaborative that brings together the investment, support and resources of some of the country's largest and most influential national disability organizations in an effort to accelerate the design and availability of ABLE accounts to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities and their families. Founded and managed by National Disability Institute (NDI), ANRC's goal is to provide consistent, reliable information concerning the benefits of an ABLE account. In addition, ANRC aims to educate individuals with disabilities and their families, state government and legislatures, financial service companies and financial planners and attorneys - who focus on trust and estate planning - about ABLE’s potential positive impact on the lives of millions of Americans with disabilities. Visit www.ablenrc.org for more information.

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