Author: Amelis Long, Enable Outreach Specialist, First National Bank of Omaha
I’ve always enjoyed the wait. The anticipation is thrilling, as my attention is captured by a countdown. Whether waiting for the first day of summer break or that Amazon package in the mail, excitement always builds. These last few weeks were no different! The Enable Alabama community was abuzz as we counted down the days to launch. Then, after a long wait, Enable Alabama arrived! I was lucky enough to participate with the launch of Enable Savings Plan Alabama at the 2017 Alabama disABILITY Conference last week.
At the press conference held that morning, you could feel the excitement as Young Boozer, the State Treasurer of Alabama, opened by reviewing ABLE’s history and the efforts of the Alabama Treasurer’s Office to provide an ABLE plan for Alabama. He also recognized the significance of partnerships and advocacy that paved the way for ABLE, including the work of Senator Dick Brewbaker who championed ABLE legislation to law in the Alabama legislature. Senator Brewbaker is the father of a son with a disability, but as Treasurer Boozer stated, Senator Brewbaker is a disability champion for all.
Then, in one of the most exciting moments of the event, Treasurer Boozer announced that the Enable AL plan was officially open for business! The room filled with applause as the anticipation melted into joy and celebration. It was a monumental moment, years in the making.
Treasurer Boozer then went on to list a few highlights of the plan:
- It allows for contributions of up to $14,000 per calendar year
- It offers five investment options
- The benefits are similar to a 529 college savings plan, such as federal tax benefits and the number of investment changes allowed
- It allows individuals with disabilities to save more than $2,000 in their name for the first time ever – up to $100,000 without impacting federal benefits
Other speakers included:
- Terry Pezent, Executive Director at The Arc of Alabama, who gave insight on how important the launch of Enable AL is for state residents with disabilities.
- Jack Knight of the ABLE Program Board, who hosted a tour of the brand new Enable AL website, demonstrating how easy it is to open, contribute, withdraw, or gift to an Enable AL account.
- Stephanie Miner, the very first account opener of Enable AL. Stephanie experiences Cerebral Palsy and has lived in Alabama most of her life. She will graduate from college in May with an Associate Degree and plans to start a career in disability advocacy, particularly for children who experience disabilities. She is saving money for a new service dog to replace her beloved Astro.
It was a spectacular day and you can watch a live steam of the event on our Enable Savings Plan Alabama Facebook page. Link to the video here: https://www.facebook.com/EnableSavingsPlanAlabama/. And if you haven’t already, be sure to “Like” the Enable AL Facebook page to receive updates from the plan.