Finally ABLE to Save: A New Savings Tool for People with Disabilities

Posted by Patty Manko on Sat, Apr 29, 2017 @ 08:05 AM

 The Special Needs Financial Planning Team  Cynthia Haddad, CFP | John  Nadworny, CFP | Alexandria Nadworny, CFP  We are committed to offering educational workshops to organizations and parent  groups.  Please call Alex or click here to attend a workshop or discuss a presentation  to your group.

Workshops Calendar

ABLE.pngThe ABLE Account is available in several states currently and is due to be offered in Massachusetts next month.  Here are a few resources to help you learn about the ABLE account and whether it is right for you or your family member with a disability.

To learn about the basics of the ABLE account, click here to read ABLE Accounts: Ten Things You Need to Know. 

Click here for a chart, provided by the National Down Syndrome Society comparing elements of all of the currently operable ABLE programs in the U.S., along with their contact information.   

Stay tuned to our blog; over the next few weeks we will feature wealth accumulation planning strategies including: 

  • When the child turns 18, transferring money to an ABLE account can help avoid the spend-down process - reducing savings beneath the $2,000 threshold.
  • Gainfully employed persons with a disability may open an account to save their own money.
  • An ABLE account may be used to address the issue of staying below $2000 in a Representative Payee Account.
  • There are potential planning strategies around allowing distributions for housing related expenses. Currently, special needs trusts do not permit distributions for housing; only supplemental expenses. 

* We borrowed your great title!  The title Finally ABLE to Save: A New Savings Tool for People with Disabilities is from a presentation by  Heather Sachs, JD, Vice President of Advocacy & Public Policy, National Down Syndrome Society.  Thanks, Heather!

Tags: ABLE Account

New England States Discuss Offering the ABLE Account

Posted by Patty Manko on Wed, Jun 29, 2016 @ 07:00 AM

The Special Needs Financial Planning Team at Shepherd Financial Partners
Cynthia Haddad, CFP® | John Nadworny, CFP® | Alex Nadworny, CFP® 

John__VTstatehouse1.jpgAttendees included (partial list L to R): Teresea Hayes, Maine State Treasurer; Tom Graff, MEFA; John Nadworny, MA Down Syndrome Congress; Chris Rodriguez, National Disability Institute; Bill Dwyer, New Hampshire Sate Treasurer; Beth Pearce, Vermont State Treasurer.

Earlier this month, John Nadworny attended a meeting of State Treasurers and representatives from the 6 New England states, (MA, ME, VT, CN, RI, NH) to discuss the possibility of forming a consortium to offer the ABLE account to their constituents. This meeting was a first step toward crafting a platform for regional collaboration, as the New England states with smaller populations are concerned with achieving the critical mass necessary to effectively administer a program on their own. The consortium approach involves one state taking the lead and working together with the other states to develop a program that would provide meaningful benefits to the families in their state. 

Collaboration on the ABLE account is occurring in other areas in the country as well. On June 1st, Ohio became the first state to enact their “STABLE account” program. Ohio’s national program offers benefits to individuals with disabilities in Ohio and across the country. The program allows for out of state individuals to hold accounts in Ohio for slightly higher fees without risking their eligibility for federally-funded means tested benefits. For the first time, individuals living with a disability can save more than $2,000. while maintaining their current benefits such as social security, medicaid, and other publicly funded programs. Tennessee was quick to follow Ohio’s lead on June 14th putting their own national program (ABLE TN) into place. Tennessee’s program is nearly identical with slight differences coming in it’s fee structure. Currently ABLE TN and the STABLE Account are the only two states enrolling beneficiaries, however others are expected to follow soon. Nebraska and Florida are the closest to launching programs currently, with Nebraska offering like benefits to ABLE TN and the STABLE Account, and Florida offering an in state only program.

Important disclosures:

Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
Investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss.
Prior to investing in a ABLE account investors should consider whether the investor's or designated beneficiary's home state offers any state tax or other benefits that are only available for investments in such state's ABLE program. Withdrawals used for qualified expenses are federally tax free. Tax treatment at the state level may vary. Please consult with your tax advisor before investing.Investors should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses associated with the ABLE account carefully before investing. The issuer's official statement contains this and other information about the investment. You can obtain an official statement from the state's ABLE program administrator. Read carefully before investing.


Tags: ABLE Account

In the News - Planning for Individuals with Disabilities

Posted by Patty Manko on Sat, May 14, 2016 @ 08:00 AM


The Special Needs Financial Planning Team at Shepherd Financial Partners
Cynthia Haddad, CFP® | John Nadworny, CFP® | Alex Nadworny, CFP® 

A New Home for the Arc of Massachusetts

The May 8 Boston Sunday Globe featured an interview with Arc of Massachusetts Executive Director Leo Sarkissian, about the Arc's new headquarters building. Leo stressed the need for a new building and how The Arc's advocacy helps individuals with disabilities across the state. In case you missed it, you can read the article in its entirety here.

An Update on the ABLE Account
Key take-aways: 
  • Once ABLE programs start becoming available, a tweak to federal law earlier this year will allow individuals with disabilities to open accounts through any state program no matter where they live. 
  • The first ABLE accounts are scheduled to become available this summer.
 Read more from Disability Scoop.
Special Advice for Special Needs Parents
We are quoted in the article, Special Advice for Special Needs Parents in Financial Advisor Magazine.  To read the article, click here.
Words Matter
The terms used to describe people with disabilities have changed over the years but is the search for respectful language permanently hampered by the very practice of placing labels on individuals?  
Read Dan Barry's  Giving a Name , and Dignity, to a Disability from the New York Times, May 7, 2016.

Tags: ABLE Account

Is the ABLE Account Right for You?

Posted by Patty Manko on Fri, May 22, 2015 @ 04:12 PM


FPA_JournalJohn Nadworny, CFP®, of Shepherd Financial Partners, has written an article for the Journal of Financial Planning pertaining to the ABLE Account, a new savings account dedicated to saving for individuals with disabilities. The Journal of Financial Planning is a central reference publication for the financial planning community, including CFP® certificants. 

While a lot has been written about the rules and regulations surrounding an ABLE account, this article helps fill the critical need of informing families of how they may apply this new type of savings account to their own personal situations.  Please feel free to share this article, with appropriate attribution, with your friends and family. 

Click to read Incorporating the ABLE Act into Special Needs Planning.

In response to the many questions we have received from families about how to incorporate the ABLE account into their planning, we will offer a series of blogs featuring

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) : How to Use an ABLE Account.

WE welcome your questions --  submit a question below.  All submissions are confidential. 

Click here to  Send us your questions  about the new ABLE accounts.



Tags: ABLE Account

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