April is Autism Acceptance Month. In honor of that, I interviewed Femme Frugality’s Brynne Conroy on the Money Circle podcast all about the financial resources that are available for families with kids who have special needs. Brynne is a fantastic resource for this and updates her materials every year to make sure that all of the information is accurate. If you, or someone you know, have a child with autism or a child with other special needs, these resources will be incredibly helpful.
An important necessity for all kids, but especially those with special needs, is healthcare coverage. An affordable option for many people is Medicaid. Medicaid provides healthcare coverage to millions of Americans, including eligible low-income adults, children, pregnant women, elderly adults, and people with disabilities. As Brynne mentioned in the podcast episode, some states allow children with special needs to be on Medicaid, regardless of their parents’ income. Not all states are equal, though. To learn more about Medicaid coverage in your state, check out Brynne’s state-by-state guide.
I first heard of ABLE accounts back in September 2019. There were several ABLE account vendors set up at FinCon and I was so happy to find out that they exist for the folks who need them. ABLE accounts are tax-advantaged savings accounts for individuals with disabilities and their families. These were created as a result of the passage of the Stephen Beck Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014 or “the ABLE Act.”
These accounts were created to help individuals and families set money aside for any qualified disability expenses. These can be any expense that is a result of living a life with disabilities. This may include education, food, housing, transportation, employment training and support, assistive technology, personal support services, healthcare expenses, and other expenses that help improve health, independence, or quality of life.
The beneficiary of this type of account is the account owner, and any income earned by the accounts will not be taxed. Contributions can be made by anyone and must be made using post-tax dollars and will not be tax deductible for purposes of federal taxes. However, some states may allow for state income tax deductions for contributions made to an ABLE account. In 2020, the total annual contribution limit is $15,000.
To learn more about ABLE accounts, check out the ABLE National Resource Center.
State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies
Another important resource that Brynne told me about is state vocational rehabilitation agencies. According to Brynne, “The federal government provides funding to state vocational rehabilitation agencies for a number of purposes. They aid both employers and job seekers to build inclusive workplaces, and go the extra mile to make sure training is available to those with medical needs.”
Brynne goes on to say, “Their aim is to help the disabled secure *meaningful *employment that highlights their skills, talents and interests. Their job is to remove barriers that may stand in their way of securing such employment, such as lack of guidance, lack of funding or lack of awareness and knowledge on the part of the employer.”
To find the vocational rehabilitation agency in your state, visit the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN).
*To learn more about this resource, along with even more, check out Brynne’s post about career resources for autistic youth. *
Certified Financial Education Instructor. Feminist and financial coach for women. Founder of Money Circle.