In the United States, one in every six people has some form of disability, yet they're not well represented in the workforce or financial system. But in 2014, the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act was passed, allowing people with disabilities to put money in savings accounts. These accounts can help individuals easily save up for future needs and goals. Join this conversation with Eric Ochmanek and Mark Raymond, Jr as we talk more about the ABLE Today accounts and how they are helping people with disabilities live better financially.
Eric Ochmanek is the program director at the National Association of State Treasurers’ ABLE today initiative. In 2016, Eric worked to launch one of the first ABLE programs and developed its national outreach. He has traveled throughout the country to connect people with disabilities with ABLE accounts and built partnerships within the disability, financial, legal, and support service communities.
Mark Raymond, Jr. is the CEO & Founder of The Split Second Foundation, an organization committed to breaking
barriers for people with disabilities. Mark's life changed in a split second when a tragic accident left him a C-5 quadriplegic. That tick of the clock will forever influence who he is, pushing him to advocate for others.
Key Highlights from the Episode
[00:01] Episode intro and a quick bio of our guests; Eric Ochmanek and Mark Raymond
[01:33] A bit about Eric’s work as the national director of the ABLE Today Program
[03:06] Mark’s backstory and how The Split Second foundation came about
[04:53] Mark’s role as the Regional Transit Authority in New Orleans.
[05:26] Number of active ABLE accounts since 2014, and AUM
[06:20] Where ABLE Today funds can be used
[08:13] The Able Age Adjustment Act & why it is a key accomplishment for people with disabilities
[11:02] Why has there not been an active and enthusiastic sign-up to ABLE accounts
[13:40] Using the AAPD annual gala to educate people on ABLE Accounts
[17:35] What’s coming up on Eric and Mark’s legislative challenge
[23:22] Episode wrap-up and best ways to reach out and connect with Eric and Mark
- “There are a lot of disparities for people with disabilities, ranging from transportation or lack of access to resources, community resources, and just healthcare in general.” - Mark Raymond, Jr.
- “Working with other organizations and advocacy groups is how ABLE will be successful. Each time someone learns of what an ABLE account is, they become a walking soundboard for other people.” - Eric Ochmanek.
- “Being the national champion does not mean resting. You have to focus on the future.”- Eric Vaughn.
Visit ABLE Today at https://www.abletoday.org/ to learn more about the program.
The Split Second Foundation: https://www.splitsecondfoundation.org