Wendy Settles is a young professional who works as a housing specialist for Impact Center for Independent Living in Alton, IL. She helps individuals with disabilities get out of nursing homes and into integrated community living. Wendy opened her ABLE account about a year ago.
“At first I thought ABLE was too good to be true. But I now know that having an Illinois ABLE account means financial security. I work most of the time, but there are times when I am not working, so I have to go back to being on SSI. I lost my work for 9 months when a grant I was working under was pulled and for most of that I was on unemployment, but for the last few months I had to go back on SSI. It would have put me at ease if I could have had an ABLE account, but they didn’t exist then.
Now, if I get laid off from my job, and I hope I won’t, I will have some savings to help get me through until I land a new job. If I live only on SSI, it barely covers my rent. I don’t know what I would do without ABLE. It reduces stress and I don’t have to worry as much because of my Illinois ABLE account.
Right now I use the checking account option. It’s there as my safety net. I’ve already reached my first goal which was to save enough money for a down payment on an accessible vehicle. Eventually, I would like to buy a house. And I would like to work toward my master’s degree in public administration. I have a long way to go, but I am saving for it.
Once the people I serve get out into the community, ABLE will play a role for them too. It was so easy to set up and now I try to explain to others who feel the way I felt. I talk about it all the time because it is such an awesome program.
I don’t understand the age restriction for something like this because disability can happen at any age. I was born with my disability, but I know a lot more people with acquired disabilities than with disabilities from birth. That age restriction is arbitrary. I don’t understand it. It’s very discriminatory.”
Thanks Wendy! We are working right now with lawmakers in Congress to raise the age qualification limit to 46 from 26.