GREENSBORO, N.C. — We all want to get ahead, pay the bills, and have money left over to live a little more comfortably, but folks with disabilities, who get government benefits like SSI or Medicaid are restricted.
If they accumulate more than $2,000 in an account from working or from loved ones, their benefits go down. It can leave families in need, so the state created the ABLE plan.
“I’m used to talking to you about pensions and healthcare, and NC Cash, but as the NC State Treasurer, I'm also the chair of the ABLE board. ABLE stands for Achieving a Better Life through Experience,” said Dale Folwell, NC State Treasurer.
The ABLE Plan works much like a 529 Plan. Family, loved ones, caregivers can put money into the account. The money grows on a tax-deferred basis and doesn't negatively impact benefits. The money in the account can be used right then or down the road. Anyone is eligible, as long as the onset of their disability was prior to them being 26 years old.
“Also, with the ABLE program, we also involve the ARC. This allows us to match them with jobs through the ARC program. And it's really important to match employers with employees these days,” said Folwell.
The ABLE Plan and the matching of jobs started with a Bitty and Beau's Coffee shop in Wilmington. The shop is run by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The owners pushed for this able program.
The ABLE program was signed into law in 2015 and has been up and running since 2017. There are 1500 account holders in the state, 485 are right here in the triad.