By Wanda Felty
The City Sentinel series, Oklahoma STABLE program
First published in November, 2020.
Editor’s note: Ellyn Hefner is a Special Needs Consultant in Oklahoma City. She works with the State Treasurer as an Ambassador to provide outreach to families and providers about OKSTABLE accounts. Ellyn has guided The City Sentinel’s coverage on this vital public program. This month (November 2020 print edition), Wanda Felty — a parent and an advocate for adults and children with disabilities – describes how to give a monetary gift to an Oklahoman with a disability through the ABLE accounts.
Wanda Felty, for The City Sentinel:
What time is it? Its gift giving time, that’s what time it is. For the past several months you have read a lot about the Oklahoma STABLE or ABLE accounts.Oklahoma STABLE accounts are made possible by the Federal Achieving a Better Life Experience ‘ABLE’ Act passed by Congress in 2014. Oklahoma STABLE launched May 31, 2018.
ABLE accounts are the savings accounts that allows a person with a disability to save money without it affecting their access medical or other benefits.
Some of the topics you have read about in this series: How the OK STABLE savings accounts works well with Special Needs Trust, how a young couple with disabilities was able to save to put a down payment on a new home and even how the savings accounts allows for a person to save for high-cost medical equipment or specialized or adaptive vehicles.
In this article I want to explain how people with or without disabilities can be a part of Oklahoma’s STABLE accounts. It is because of the ingenuity and vision of the creators of the OK STABLE accounts and the partnership with the Ohio STABLE account managers, everyone can participate in helping a person with a disability save for A Better Life Experience (ABLE).
It is now the time of the year when many of us start thinking about gift giving. Some people really enjoy the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping and others will just walk into the local Five ‘n Dime and buy the first thing they can lay their hands on. Additionally, some love the excitement of opening presents, no matter how ugly that sweater is, or how useless that knickknack might be. But we all know where that sweater and that knickknack ends up. This is true for people with disabilities too.
But there is another option for both the shopper, and the gift opener. The Oklahoma STABLE accounts have an incredible feature, electronic gift giving. It is simple and easy. The account holder just logs into their account, finds the eGift button, clicks on Create an Event and the process is started.
My daughter is 32 years old. She still loves the excitement of her birthday and holidays. She still loves the experience of opening gifts, but the truth is, the gifts that most people know to get her, a gown, and fidget for her to play with and occupy her hands or her favorite flavored popcorn, are really much lower cost than they usually plan. And seriously, her nightgown drawer can only hold so many new gowns.
For the past year or so we have invited all of our friends and families to use the STABLE eGift option if they choose. Many will still gift her a small gift of popcorn or a fidget for her excitement, along with cake and ice cream of course, But what is great is they all have gifted her an eGift to her STABLE account. Because of our family and friends, this past weekend, she was able to buy herself this huge, oversized beanbag chair. Because of all her eGifts, everyone got to be a part of this great, neon green, comfy beanbag chair that she loves so much.
If you know someone with a disability and they have not mentioned the eGift option, mention it to them. Let them know, you would love to be part of that option of gifting. If they say they do not have a STABLE account, encourage them to visit www.okstable.org and sign up. It really is that easy. Happy pre-holidays.