Buffalo, Mo — “We adopted Abby and Bud from Ukraine,” said Regina Bradley. “July 2012 is when we brought them home. ”
Abby and Bud are now six years old and Regina and her husband Kelly have started saving for the future.
“We want them to live a good life when they get older and we want them to be able to live independently,” Regina said. “And have a nice place to live and have reliable transportation. Things that people have, but sometimes kids like this don’t always get that when they get older.”
Both Abby and Bud have Down Syndrome. The family has now set up a MO Able account for both of them.
“We started our account on his 6th birthday which was January. So, it’s fairly new to us,” Regina said.
It’s been a year since Missouri launched a program that allows individuals with disabilities to save money without losing federal benefits. It’s called MO Able – Missouri Achieving A Better Life Experience. During its first year, about 600 people have set up an account, saving $2.4 million altogether.
More than 800,000 Missourians have a disability.
Before MO Able, if an individual with a disability had more than $2,000 dollars in a savings account, they’d lose benefits like SSI and Medicaid
With MO Able, they can save up to $100,000 total, $15,000 year, without losing those benefits.
The money that can be put away safely, Bradley says, helps families secure a financial future, but also cover expenses that come along with a diagnosis.
“Therapies, surgeries,” she said. “Like, with Bud we just bought him a communication device that helps him talk at school. Just recently, we found out they are both going to need hearing aids, and even with our insurance there is some cost that is going to come out of our pockets.”
Bradley was recently named an advisor for the National Disabilities Institute, advocating for and educating other families about ABLE accounts so they can too, have some peace of mind and plan for the future.
Missouri Treasurer Eric Schmitt launched the program in 2017. He is now working with the legislature to increase the amount families can save per year and also allow families to transfer money from a college savings account into a MO Able account without any penalties.