The investment program helps individuals with disabilities save for their future
West Virginia State Treasurer John Perdue and West Virginia University’s Center for Excellence in Disabilities hosted a community awareness event and press conference today at WVU’s Health Sciences Center to educate individuals about a savings program for people with disabilities. The West Virginia Achieving a Better Life Experience program, known as WVABLE, provides people with disabilities an opportunity to save and invest without jeopardizing needs-based public benefits.
“I’m excited this type of savings program is now available to those who need it most here in West Virginia,” said Treasurer Perdue. “WVABLE is already empowering more individuals in our state to plan for their financial future. We anticipate this program will continue to grow as more people learn about the benefits.”
Assistant State Treasurer Josh Stowers and Dr. Clay Marsh, Vice President and Executive Dean for Health Sciences at West Virginia University, talked about the program’s success and offered opportunities for enrollment. Exhibitors from WVABLE and partner organizations were on hand to explain services and answer questions.
Jennifer Tenney, manager of WVU’s Center for Excellence in Disabilities Work Incentive Planning and Assistance program (WIPA), is a member of the WVABLE Advisory Committee and helped plan the event.
“The WVABLE program is a new way for people with disabilities to save for the future and have some financial independence without jeopardizing their existing benefits, such as SSI and Medicaid,” Tenney said. “This is especially helpful for those who are employed to save for items they may need for work, like a vehicle. For West Virginians with disabilities who rely on resource-based benefits, saving money was impossible prior to WVABLE. Now, there is a path to some financial independence.”
The State Treasurer’s Office launched WVABLE in February 2018 to help individuals with disabilities put aside money without the risk of losing benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid. Qualifying individuals may save up to $15,000 per year in a WVABLE account, with earnings accumulating tax-free. The savings may be used for qualified expenses, such as rent, transportation, education and training.
A WVABLE account comes with a loadable debit card and has features similar to a checking account, but it is also an investment account. It has features similar to 529 college savings accounts and 401(k) retirement funds.
Prior to passage of West Virginia’s ABLE Act, individuals receiving government benefits were restricted in the amount of money they could save or invest without losing public benefits, such as SSI or Medicaid. Before, financial resources in excess of $2,000 in savings could result in the loss of benefits.
People may go online at WVABLE.com to take an eligibility quiz. Individuals must have developed the disability before the age of 26 to qualify. WVABLE is administered by the West Virginia State Treasurer’s Office through a partnership with the Ohio Treasurer’s Office STABLE program.
For more information, or to sign up for an account, log onto WVABLE.com or call 304.340.5050.