Michael and his Mom talk about life and his IL ABLE account
Michael has been an IL ABLE Account Owner for a little over a year. He is also a new face of IL ABLE. When visitors arrive at the IL ABLE website, they see Michael, along with all of the diverse faces of real IL ABLE account owners! Michael and his mom, Dawn, share their story here to help other people with disabilities and their families learn how an IL ABLE account can make life better.
accessABLE: How old are you, Michael?
Michael: I am 20 years old.
accessABLE: What are your hobbies or favorite leisure activities?
Michael: I like to play video games and make videos for YouTube and other social media. I participate in Special Olympics Illinois (SOILL). I am a Global Messenger. I speak at events across the state. I do 9 sports and have about 100 medals. I have been State Gold Medalist many times in Snowshoeing 200m and 100m races, Volleyball Skills, Basketball Skills, Softball Skills, Track and Field 50m and 800m. I also participate in softball throw.
I was on the State 2nd Place and 4th Place Basketball Teams and the State 4th Place Soccer Team. The softball team qualified for State but got rained out. I was on Sectional Bowling 2nd place, District Flag Football teams 2nd place. I was a Region H Athlete of the Year in 2018. I was going to start golf competitions, but things got cancelled because of COVID.
accessABLE: Wow! Being an Illinois Special Olympian and a Global Messenger must keep you busy. Have you been able to do much with Special Olympics this summer?
Michael: I did the Virtual Torch Run for Special Olympics Illinois Virtual Summer Games 2020.
accessABLE: Great! Michael, you are an IL ABLE Account Owner, and your mom opened the account for you last year. Mom, how easy or difficult was the process of opening Michael’s IL ABLE account?
Mom: We had no issues. The website walks you through the entire process. I read everything in the instructions. And, to others, don’t hesitate to call customer service to ask questions. [Editor note: see Customer Service phone number below].
accessABLE: Is Michael using his IL ABLE account to save for something special?
Mom: He is saving for furniture and his own bedroom set, television and electronics when he ages out and goes to an adult group home.
accessABLE: Why did you choose to open an IL ABLE account for Michael?
Mom: We want him to have a place to put his work wages and have money available as he moves into adult services and living in an adult group home. Currently he is in a student group home through his school.
accessABLE: Speaking of school, Michael, would you tell us about school?
Michael: I go to Hope Vocational Academy, Springfield. I work at [a dental practice] and Hope Cafe. I also do Boy Scouts, Garden Club, Student Council President, and school musicals.
accessABLE: Have you used your IL ABLE account to pay for any of the expenses related to your activities?
Mom: Nothing at this point. He is letting savings build up. When he transitions to adult living, he will use his IL ABLE account for payments and purchases. We like that [the ABLE account] can accumulate up to $100,000 without affecting SSI benefits and he can be set up for having money he needs for later in his adult life.
accessABLE: Michael, do you put earnings from a job into your IL ABLE account?
Michael: I am not working right now because of COVID. When I go back to work at the dentist office and at the Café, I will return to putting money into my ABLE account.
accessABLE: Tell us about the experience of having your photo taken to be a Face of the IL ABLE plan.
Michael: I had a wonderful experience. I enjoyed the attention and enjoyed talking to the people working with the photoshoot. It was a good day.
accessABLE: And we really enjoyed the day with you, Michael and Mom! You did a great job and it’s great to talk with an actual IL ABLE account owner. Thank you for taking time out of your day to share your story!
Read the IL ABLE FAQ’s to learn more about ABLE accounts.
Are you ready to open an IL ABLE account just like Michael? CLICK HERE to begin.
For more information about IL ABLE, contact Customer Service at 888-609-8683, 8am – 5pm, CT, Monday through Friday.