Celebrate the Achievements of People with Disabilities

July is Disability Pride Month and the Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

July 26 marks the 32nd anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This landmark civil rights law prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life. Since its passage in 1990, people with and without disabilities have turned the month of July into Disability Pride Month.  Events, parades and celebrations take place across the country to honor the diversity and achievements of people with disabilities.

What Will You Do with Your Tax Refund?

Consider opening or contributing to an IL ABLE account

Tax refunds are always welcome, and they can give you a chance to think about the disability expenses you want to save for.  Do you want to save the refund for an unexpected medical expense?  Are you going to need new tires for the car that gets you to and from your job? Is there travel in your future?  Whatever your financial dreams and goals contributing your tax refund to an IL ABLE account can help you reach them.

IL ABLE Account Owner is bound for the Special Olympics USA Games in Florida

Special Olympics Illinois athlete Brandy shares how her IL ABLE account helps her with her Special Olympics goals. 

Brandy is an IL ABLE account owner AND a Special Olympics Illinois athlete and she is bound for the USA Games in Florida in June 2022. In our recent interview with Brandy, she shared how her IL ABLE account helps her with her Special Olympics goals.

accessABLE:  IL ABLE is helping to make it possible for athletes like you to attend the USA Games next year. You are an IL ABLE Account Owner. How did you find out about IL ABLE?  

Brandy:  I found out about IL ABLE through my case manager (a person who supports Brandy).

accessABLE:  When did you open your IL ABLE account? 

Brandy:  I have had an IL ABLE account since 2019.

accessABLE: Did you open the account yourself or did someone help you open the account? 

Brandy:  I was assisted by the case manager of my group home to open my IL ABLE account. (For our readers: many people with disabilities deposited their stimulus payments into their IL ABLE accounts to protect their benefits).

accessABLE: Tell us about your job and what you do.

Brandy:  I work at Accolade Nursing Home. I am a dietary aid. I serve the residents, wash the dishes, and interact with the residents. 

accessABLE:  Do you deposit your paycheck into your IL ABLE account?

Brandy:  No (For our readers:  Did you know that you can deposit all or part of your paycheck into your IL ABLE account?  And, IL ABLE Account Owners who work can contribute more each year to their IL ABLE accounts.   Learn more!

accessABLE: How might you use the money you have saved in your IL ABLE account during the USA Games in Florida?  

Brandy:  I plan on buying souvenirs. I also want to experience as much as I can from the USA Games.

accessABLE: Tell us what it was like for you when State Treasurer Frerichs visited you at the Rec Center in Pontiac, IL?  What were you thinking when you first saw him?  

Brandy:  I was so excited and I was thinking ‘What are all these cameras and people here for?’

accessABLE: How did it feel to hear the news from the Treasurer that you are going to represent Illinois in next June’s Special Olympics USA Games in Florida?

Brandy:  It was exciting! I felt good inside to know I was going to the USA Games in Florida.

accessABLE: Being a Special Olympics Illinois athlete must keep you busy.  What sports do you play?

Brandy:  My sports are bowling and basketball. But I like all kinds of athletics. 

accessABLE:  What will you do to get ready for the USA Games in Florida next June?

Brandy:  I will continue to train and strengthen with my coach for the USA games, I will continue to eat and drink as healthy as I can. 

accessABLE:  Have you ever been to Florida?  What do you think it will be like to go to the USA Games? 

Brandy:  I have not been to Florida. I think it will be amazing and fun. I will meet a bunch of new people. Special Olympics has made me very proud of myself and my accomplishments. 

accessABLE: Thank you, Brandy, for being an IL ABLE Account Owner and good luck at the USA Games!

In September, Treasurer Frerichs had the great pleasure of surprising Brandy with the news that she had been selected to represent Team Illinois at the Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando, Florida. You can watch the surprise [reveal here].

For our readers and Special Olympics families:  Did you know that many of the costs of equipment, training and transportation can be covered by funds you save in your IL ABLE account? Just like Brandy, you or your athlete can open an IL ABLE account.  Learn more about IL ABLE here. Find quick answers to your IL ABLE questions with IL ABLE FAQs

Office of the Illinois State Treasurer Wins Award for Outstanding State Agency of the Year

Read Treasurer Frerichs’ remarks upon accepting the ICED Award on behalf of the Office and IL ABLE.

 “It is an honor for the Treasurer’s Office to be awarded Outstanding State Agency of the Year by the Interagency Committee on Employees with Disabilities – or I. C. E. D. 

A goal of the ICED is to promote and expand access to opportunity for State of Illinois employees who have disabilities. Through the Achieving a Better Life Experience, ABLE Program, we have also prioritized expanding access through our work with state employees, retirees, and the greater state disability community.  Illinois ABLE is one of the programs in my office of which I am especially proud because we built it for people who have disabilities and their families to improve quality of life and build independence. Illinois ABLE accounts are savings and investment accounts that people with disabilities can open to save their own money and preserve federal benefits such as SSI and Medicaid. Funds in an Illinois ABLE account grow tax-free and can be used to pay for the expenses that come with living with a disability – things such as therapy, buying an accessible car, training, education, and even daily living expenses. 

Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, people with disabilities and their families have been opening and contributing to their Illinois ABLE accounts.  As of the end of last month 2,700 accounts are open by people with disabilities across Illinois with $25 million in savings.  My staff and I have worked hard to make IL ABLE stronger each year since we launched the program in 2017. First, I championed successful legislation to provide state income tax deductions for Illinois taxpayers who make contributions to any Illinois ABLE account. We then helped incentivize employment by increasing the annual dollar amount that working people with disabilities can contribute to their IL ABLE accounts.  And this year the Illinois ABLE Asset Protection Act became law. The law allows assets in an IL ABLE account to be transferred to another ABLE-eligible individual upon the death of an Account Owner thereby avoiding probate costs, probate creditors and Medicaid recovery, sometimes referred to as “claw back”. Finally, my office leads the way by providing a high-quality, low-cost ABLE program to people with disabilities.

Illinois is the leader of the 18-member National ABLE Alliance that represents one-quarter of the nation’s ABLE-eligible disability population. The bipartisan coalition collaborates to provide a flexible, best-in-class ABLE program to people with disabilities across the nation. That means increased financial security and improved quality of life. In closing, I would again like to thank ICED for recognizing the Office of the Illinois State Treasurer for being the Outstanding State Agency of the Year. We will continue to strive for excellence and remain deeply committed to the State of Illinois, our IL ABLE program, and people with disabilities.”

Illinois Treasurer Michael W. Frerichs

It’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month!  

Open an IL ABLE account to save and invest your paycheck.

This month,  IL ABLE celebrates people with disabilities whose paid work helps keep the nation’s economy strong. This year’s theme is “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion.” IL ABLE makes it possible for those with disabilities who work to save and invest the money they earn. 

If you are working, you can start by  saving and investing your paycheck. Open an IL ABLE account any day or time.  Just visit the IL ABLE website www.llinoisable.com.  The website explains who is eligible, helps you figure out what type of investor you are, provides details about the checking account and investment options,  and has a button to begin your enrollment.   , Enroll here.  You can also find an enrollment application that you can download, print, and submit by mail if you prefer. Don’t wait! Start saving your paycheck now. 

You can set up a direct deposit of your paycheck into your IL ABLE account.  If you receive SSI, an automatic direct deposit of your paycheck will build your ABLE savings and help protect against going over the $2,000 asset cap in your other accounts.  

Learn how ABLE to Work can help you increase your IL ABLE account and how a payroll direct deposit makes it easy. 

ABLE to Work allows those who work to save and invest more in their IL ABLE.  

ABLE to Work allows you to contribute even more to your IL ABLE account each year if you are working.

ABLE Account Owners who earn income may contribute additional funds beyond the annual $15,000 contribution limit. The additional annual contribution amount is equal to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Poverty Guidelines amount for a one-person household (in your state of residence) or the Account Owner’s gross wages, whichever is less. 

Working Account Owners are not eligible to contribute additional funds if they are already contributing to their retirement through:

  1. A defined contribution plan
  2. An annuity contract
  3. An eligible deferred compensation plan

Working Account Owners may take advantage of ABLE to Work whether they are working part-time or full-time.  Account Owners should keep adequate records to ensure the limit is not exceeded. Any increase in contributions could impact tax obligation. Consult a tax advisor before making any such increase.

Remember, you can setup a payroll direct deposit which makes saving and investing your paycheck quick and easy.  Download the payroll direct deposit form now, click here Payroll Direct Deposit Form

Find quick answers to your ABLE questions with IL ABLE FAQs

Enroll in IL ABLE at illinoisable.com