Cincinnati - Fifth Third Bank today announced that the checking account it designed for the Achieving a Better Life Experience program known as ABLE will be available in Illinois, North Carolina and several other states by March 30, and in Indiana and others by this summer.*
The special checking accounts are part of Fifth Third’s work with the National ABLE Alliance, a consortium of states dedicated to providing those living with disabilities and their families with low-cost investment products.
“We’re proud to help make it easier for people living with disabilities to save and manage their money,” said Fifth Third Bancorp President and CEO Greg Carmichael. “The ABLE plans give families the peace of mind that comes from setting money aside for their own or their loved ones’ future.”
Under the 2014 federal ABLE law, people with disabilities and their families can set aside up to $14,000 a year in special accounts without affecting their eligibility for Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid or government programs. These ABLE accounts are modeled loosely after the popular 529 state-sponsored college savings accounts. State-sponsored ABLE accounts and plans vary, with some enrolling eligible people across the country and others limiting participation to those who reside in the state in which it was launched. The plans offer a mix of traditional banking and investment options.
Fifth Third’s ABLE Checking Option offers all the features of a traditional checking account such as a debit card, checks, access to more than 45,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide and more, making it easier for people with disabilities to manage their accounts and pay for their expenses. This is the first checking option available in an ABLE plan in the country.
“You want to raise your child to be independent, to work, and to do as much as they can,” said Dave Kremer of Cincinnati, whose 33-year-old son, Teddy, has Down syndrome. “And the ABLE accounts help encourage these skills in people with disabilities. Before ABLE, some families discouraged a person with a disability from working because they didn’t want to lose their benefits.”
ABLE accounts can be life changing for participating families, who often say they haven’t been able to build significant savings for everything from emergencies to routine medical expenses – without putting some government benefits in jeopardy. Before the ABLE account, a person living with a disability could not have more than $2,000 in their name at any time to remain eligible for government benefits. The accounts allow the money to be used for a broad range of services such as housing, transportation and equipment and technology that assist the person living with the disability.
“This will help me save money for my future,” said Teddy, who works part-time for Fifth Third Bank and part-time for the Cincinnati Reds. “Then one day I can go to live with my brother.”
Dave and his wife Cheryl have planned for Teddy to live with his older brother when they no longer can have him live with them.
“A big worry for parents of children with a disability is who will help care for them when we are gone,” Cheryl said. “The ABLE account helps us plan for Teddy’s future beyond us.”
In June 2016, Ohio became the first state to launch with STABLE, which Fifth Third proudly supports through a savings option and custodianship of plan assets. In January of 2017, Fifth Third launched the first ABLE checking option in the Enable Savings Plan in Nebraska.
Fifth Third partnered with Ascensus and state treasurers to create these innovative ways to serve our communities. Ascensus manages and administers all National ABLE Alliance plans.
“For many people, tools like Special Needs Trusts are not within reach because they don’t have a lot to invest, they are deterred from investing,” said Ben Mendelsohn, vice president of deposit products and services for Fifth Third. “ABLE was created to be more accessible and simpler than other financial tools.”
For more information about Fifth Third’s ABLE accounts, go to 53.com/able.
*States with active plans in the National ABLE Alliance currently are Alaska, Illinois, Nevada, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and North Carolina. New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Arizona, Montana, and Indiana will launch their plans throughout the coming months.
About Fifth Third
Fifth Third Bancorp is a diversified financial services company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. As of December 31, 2016, the Company had $142 billion in assets and operates 1,191 full-service Banking Centers, and 2,495 ATMs in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia, Georgia and North Carolina. Fifth Third operates four main businesses: Commercial Banking, Branch Banking, Consumer Lending and Wealth & Asset Management. Fifth Third also has a 17.9% interest in Vantiv Holding, LLC. Fifth Third is among the largest money managers in the Midwest and, as of December 31, 2016, had $315 billion in assets under care, of which it managed $31 billion for individuals, corporations and not-for-profit organizations through its Trust and Brokerage businesses. Investor information and press releases can be viewed at www.53.com. Fifth Third’s common stock is traded on the NASDAQ® Global Select Market under the symbol “FITB.”