Forum to inform about ABLE accounts for disabled

Did you know you could actually save too much money? Mississippians who are disabled have faced that reality, but now there’s a new program they can use to avoid a loss of public benefits from happening because they have too much in the bank.

The program is called ABLE, for Achieving a Better Life Experience. Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services Chief of Staff Billy Taylor, in Olive Branch Thursday evening for a Meet and Greet with community leaders about the program, said disabled persons deal with limits they have on the amount of funds they have with losing benefits.  

“With Social Security and Medicaid you are only allowed to keep $2,000 in your name to keep benefits in place,” Taylor told DeSotoCountyNews.com. “But now with ABLE you can save money in those accounts and keep those benefits in place.”

Taylor’s visit to Olive Branch was ahead of a public forum to be held at Getwell Church in Southaven on Thursday, May 19 to further explain the ABLE Account program. From 5:30 p.m. for at least an hour, people will be on hand to answer questions. There will also be a Zoom option to log into the forum and hear about the ABLE Account.  

“Our agency is charged with running this program and we are really trying to get the word out to Mississippians that they have this new tool available to them,” said Taylor. “We’re having town halls around the state.”

A federal law provided for the ABLE program in 2014 and the Mississippi legislation to enable the start of the program was passed in 2018. The program was launched in the state in 2019.  

The accounts can be used for daily transactions and/or long-term savings. Income earned in the accounts is not taxed if spent on qualified disability-related expenses.

“The biggest qualification is that you have to have had the onset of your disability before the age of 26,” Taylor said. “It’s really meant for somebody who is going to live their life with the extra expenses that are going to come with a disability. Other than that, it’s really simple to get an account started.”

Taylor added an account can be started in as few as 10 minutes at the website, MississippiABLE.com

“There are links there where you can read all about the law and read frequently asked questions,” Taylor pointed out. “It’s really a one-stop shop for all ABLE information. It’s a very low-cost way to save money and keep those benefits in place.” 

He said there’s been growing interest in the plan but more awareness will likely increase that interest. 

“So far we’ve got about 260 accounts statewide,” said Taylor. “We’re trying to make people be more aware of it, and realize the importance of the program for those who haven’t heard enough about the program to be comfortable putting their money into the program. That’s our goal here with this program.” 

Social Security has also information on the ABLE Act on its website.  

ABLE Virtual Town Hall Meeting in Southaven May 19.

Bob Bakken

Bob Bakken is the most recognized and most trusted name in DeSoto County news and sports reporting, as readers continue to express their appreciation for his accuracy and fairness in the stories he writes. Bob provides content for DeSoto County News and occasionally is heard on the OB Pod podcast talking about area happenings. A former newspaper editor and writer, his award-winning background also includes television news producing, sports media relations, and radio broadcasting.

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