Pisani family saves for short and long-term disability expenses

IL ABLE accounts can help people with disabilities save money for a variety of expenses, from everyday groceries to planning for larger purchases that improve quality of life and increase independence for the Account Owner. The editors of accessABLE News & Updates recently connected with Special Olympics Illinois athlete and IL ABLE Account Owner Louis Pisani and his mom Kish to learn about how IL ABLE helps Louis save for his future and build his independence.

The Pisani family (L-R) Kish, Danielle, Louis, and Paul are residents of Naperville, IL.

accessABLE to Kish: How easy or difficult was it to open Louis’ IL ABLE account?

Kish: It was very easy to open online. I had attended several IL ABLE presentations and had it on my “to-do” list and one day we just sat down and did it. It was no big deal! I wish we had opened the account earlier.

accessABLE: Louis,are you saving money for something special?

Louis: I have Coach Mike – he helped me get ready for the Special Olympics USA Games. The money in my IL ABLE account helps with that. I work at Planet Fitness. I use my work money for fun stuff like video game memberships, house stuff, tickets to games, doing things with friends, and dog toys for my Lab Chief.

Editor’s note: Learn more about Qualified Disability Expenses.

 accessABLE to Kish: Louis is a Special Olympics Illinois athlete. How does having an IL ABLE account help to support his sports participation?

Kish: In June Louis represented Team Illinois at the Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando, Florida where Team Illinois brought home the Gold! When Louis traveled to Orlando, his expenses were paid for thanks to fundraising from Special Olympics. But he needed spending money and a few other items. Because this was a disability-related event, he was able to use funds from his IL ABLE account for these extra things.

Louis is a 2016 graduate of Naperville North High School and he has been competing in Special Olympics since he was eight. He currently competes in flag football, tennis, Unified tennis, softball, volleyball, golf, basketball, downhill skiing, Unified golf, soccer floor hockey.  In addition, he participates in Chicago Blackhawks Special Hockey.

Editor’s note: IL ABLE helped sponsor Special Olympic Illinois athletes to attend the USA Games in June. Check out the reveal video.   

accessABLE to Kish: As a parent, what are some of your hopes and dreams for your son? And how does having an IL ABLE account help?

Kish: I work in the disability space advocating for financial wellness and literacy and one of the biggest myths is that people with disabilities can’t own a home of their own. That’s not true! Our dream is that in the next 5-10 years Louis will own a home of his own. When we can, we put money in his IL ABLE account each year and so does he. His sister put money in his IL ABLE account last year and took advantage of the Illinois state income tax deduction too! We’ve watched his account grow over the years.

Editor’s note: Illinois taxpayers can take a tax deduction for contributions made to an IL ABLE account.

accessABLE: Louis,is there anything about having an IL ABLE account that you want other people with disabilities to know about?

Louis: My mom and dad help me with my money, but I like knowing that I can save.

accessABLE: Kish, what do you think other families should know about IL ABLE accounts?

Kish: I can’t think of a reason not to open an IL ABLE account! Louis is 24 and I wish it was available when he was younger. We were discouraged from having any money in his name as we prepared to apply for Social Security benefits and Medicaid when he turned 18 due to the $2,000 asset limit. We also have a Special Needs Trust that is currently unfunded. An IL ABLE account is a great working option. As parents of an adult child with intellectual and developmental disabilities, we know it’s going to be difficult for him to live on his 20-hour-a-week job and social security benefits. This is an unfortunate reality today. The IL ABLE account gives us an option to deposit extra money when we can, and it’s for Louis’s needs now and in the future.

Thank you, Louis and Kish, for sharing your IL ABLE story.

Special shout-out to Louis and his teammates for bringing home a Gold Medal from the Special Olympics USA Games as part of Team Illinois’ Flag Football Team!

Kish Pisani is a Project Coordinator with the National Disability Institute where she educates about financial wellness for people with disabilities.

If you would like to learn more about IL ABLE visit illinoisable.com or read the Plan Disclosure Documents.

Ready to open an IL ABLE account? Enroll here

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