RALEIGH — State Treasurer Dale R. Folwell, CPA, and the NC ABLE Board of Trustees announced a substantial fee reduction for NC ABLE Program account holders at the recent quarterly board meeting. The annual maintenance fee was reduced 25% to $34 for those account holders who choose e-Delivery statements.
“We are committed to driving down costs and increasing value in the NC ABLE Program,” said Treasurer Folwell. “It is fitting that during ABLE to Save month we are able to announce this fee reduction that puts more money in the pockets of eligible individuals who are looking to Achieve a Better Life Experience.” Reducing costs for account holders was negotiated as part of a new contract.
The Board of Trustees oversees more than $15.8 million in assets for nearly 1,800 account holders whose average account size is $9,300. The money can be used for qualified disability expenses such as housing, cell phones, adaptive equipment, transportation and virtually any other item that will help to provide a better life experience. For many individuals with disabilities and their families, this may be the most impactful program available, allowing them to save MORE than the $2,000 limit for public support programs such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income.
U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., introduced the bipartisan Achieving a Better Life Experience Act in Congress in 2011. The legislation was needed, he said at the time, because “families of individuals with disabilities often face overwhelming financial burdens associated with the expensive costs of health care, education, housing and transportation.” North Carolina followed suit when the NC ABLE Act was signed into law in 2015.
“I am proud of staff and our community partners, like The Arc of North Carolina, Autism Society of North Carolina, Special Olympics of North Carolina and others who advocate for the disability population,” Treasurer Folwell said. “Awareness of NC ABLE has been growing organically for the past five years and we have seen a 20% increase in account openings and assets in the last seven months alone. I encourage everyone to join the conversation because we all know someone who knows someone who would benefit from this life-changing program.”
NC ABLE and Treasurer Folwell have been raising awareness throughout the state this year, including attendance at the North Carolina Special Olympics in June. Upcoming events include three regional Run/Walks for Autism, design projects with students at Franklin Academy and North Carolina School for the Deaf, as well as informational webinars.
The NC ABLE Program is governed by the six-member Board of Trustees with Treasurer Folwell serving as chair. North Carolina is also a member of the NC ABLE Alliance, a consortium of 18 states and Washington D.C., dedicated to providing those living with disabilities ABLE checking account and investment products at a low cost.