Nick Fisher is a passionate advocate for individuals with disabilities and a retired attorney who divides his time between Greenville and Lake Hartwell. He is also the father of Lee, a 38 year old man who has Down Syndrome. Nick knows better than most how important planning for the future needs of an adult child with a disability can be.
It’s a common misperception that ABLE accounts are just for kids, but in reality, the average age of a Palmetto ABLE® account owner is 40. These tax-advantaged savings accounts provide parents of adult children with disabilities with a vital resource for mapping their children’s financial future and planning for a time when they’ll no longer be able to care for their loved one with specials needs.
“When I go to local parents’ meetings, I continue to be amazed at the age of some parents who are still the primary caregivers of their disabled adult child. Most of the online ads you see for ABLE accounts are focused on young children, however, another real need for an ABLE account is on the other end of life, related to estate planning,” said Nick.
Nick opened a Palmetto ABLE account for his son, Lee, when Lee was awarded a settlement for an insurance claim due to a car accident that happened several years earlier. Though the amount of the settlement was modest, receiving these funds would have jeopardized Lee’s ability to maintain his other benefits. Fortunately, Nick knew about the Palmetto ABLE Savings Program and arranged for Lee to receive the proceeds soon after the program’s launch in November 2017. Now, Lee can use these funds to pay for his selected qualified disability expenses.
Planning for the future needs of a child with special needs can be complicated. Parents need to consider what the impact of a future inheritance may be on their child’s needs based benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income. “A Palmetto ABLE account gives the family some measure of security for the financial needs of their child with a disability,” Nick said.
Funds in an ABLE account may be used for qualified disability expenses such as basic living expenses, housing, transportation, assistive technology, employment training, education, health and wellness and much more. The maximum annual contribution to an ABLE account is $15,000. Taxpayers may deduct up to 100% of the contributions made to an ABLE account from their South Carolina income tax returns.
To find out if you or a loved one is eligible to open a Palmetto ABLE account, visit PalmettoABLE.com.