There is nothing a grandparent gets greater satisfaction from than helping their mo‘opuna. This may be especially true if the grandchild has special needs. Their ongoing health and financial welfare is priority one.

But for too long, people with disabilities could not save for the future out of fear of losing essential government benefits — the ones they depend upon each and every day.

The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014 provided kūpuna with a way of preparing their grandchild for adulthood by giving people with disabilities, including those with Down Syndrome, hearing or vision loss, etc., the opportunity to save without losing benefits such as SSI and Medicaid. Those receiving  government benefits and their families now have a financial tool to put money aside for purchases to enhance their quality of life without jeopardizing benefits.

Since Hawai‘i established its savings program (, those with disabilities now have the opportunity to prepare and think in terms of their future — an option they did not have before. For as little as $25, grandparents and family members can open an account for their child or grandchild with eligible disabilities and contribute to their loved one’s ABLE account without affecting their benefits. They can finally save for qualified disability expenses, invest in a tax-free account and prepare for and invest in the future and keep the benefits needed every day. You can save and invest up to $16,000 a year for a wide range of eligible expenses, including health, wellness and prevention; housing; financial management; education; transportation; job training and support; assistive technology; and funeral and burial expenses.

The account’s growth is tax free. Supplemental Security Income benefits won’t be affected as long as savings is below $100,000. Other benefits are not affected regardless of the amount saved.

See the eligibility requirements at www.hawaiiablesavings. com/eligibility. For more information about the Hawai’i ABLE Savings Program, watch a webinar at www.hawaiiablesavings. com/resources or join one of the monthly presentations on the last Wednesday of each month.

For more, contact Executive Administrator Daintry Bartoldus at the Hawai‘i State Council on Developmental Disabilities (see below).

Hawaii State Council on Developmental Disabilities
Princess Victoria Kamamalu Building
1010 Richards St., Rm. 122, Honolulu, HI 96813
808-586-8100 | Fax: 808-586-7543
The ABLE team is an independent sub-unit of the Hawai‘i Department of Health, who strive to improve the lives and rights of individuals with developmental  disabilities.