On Jan. 26, North Carolina’s legislation had passed the ABLE accounts under Senator Richard Burr for those with disabilities. The ABLE act essentially allows people with disabilities and their family to put away money into a tax-deferred account for expenses related to health and wellness, employment supports, education, housing, and other costs not covered by Medicaid. In order to acquire the account, the individual must have incurred his disability, before his or her twenty-sixth birthday. It is an account that requires a flat fee of $45 every year which covers services like financial record-keeping and communications services, online account access, online quarterly statements, toll-free customer service call center assistance, etc. A total of $14,000 can be contributed by family and friends towards the account.
Special education teachers in the Wake County speak from experience when they say that these accounts are so important. When it comes to having a disability, there are certain expenses that are imperative to have yet not everyone can afford. Emily Chiarolanzio, a teacher who is part of Apex High School’s special education program, admits that she often worries about what would happen to her students after they graduate. Educating students who have specials needs is not, in her words, “cut and dry.” There are special tuition bills that need to be paid, and it does not help that some of these kids come from low-income households. The ABLE Act is a relief because she now knows that her kids will taken care for.
Manju Sathish, a special education teacher at Salem Elementary School, also worries about her students. She knows of parents who work two to three jobs because of the expenses imperative to special education students. “Education doesn’t stop at school especially for kids of specials needs. They require therapy and tuition outside of school. It’s unfortunate that many of these students can’t afford what is a necessity.”
Overall, teachers unanimously are glad for the ABLE act as it provides special needs students ways to better thrive in their present and future.