State Treasurer Dale R. Folwell, CPA, met with students, administrators, faculty and staff at the N.C. School for the Deaf (NCSD) in Morganton on Monday, Oct. 31, while promoting the NC ABLE savings program that could benefit those living with disabilities.
The Department of State Treasurer (DST) administers NC ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience), and Treasurer Folwell chairs its Board of Trustees. The program allows those whose disabilities occurred before the age of 26 and their families to contribute to savings accounts that can grow tax-free. The accounts can fund essential disability services and qualified expenses without endangering benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income, in which eligibility is restricted by financial caps.
“The NC ABLE Program provides an opportunity for those with disabilities to not only save for current and future expenses, but to live, work and contribute to the communities in which they live,” Treasurer Folwell said.
Jennifer Willet is the art teacher at NCSD and several of her students shared artwork they designed for the NC ABLE Program. An assembly of students gathered in the school auditorium, where Treasurer Folwell shared his personal history and career development, discussed programs and operations at DST, promoted the NC ABLE program and answered student questions.
“It was a pleasure to meet with staff at the N.C. School for the Deaf and present through sign-language translation at an assembly with their engaging student body. To be given the chance to answer questions and share the role of state government and a life of public service is an opportunity to inspire the next generation to participate fully in their future. This serves as a good reminder of the need to start and keep a conversation going – there are no communication barriers,” said Treasurer Folwell.
Through relationships with partners, nonprofits and the broader community, the NC ABLE Program has accumulated nearly $16 million in assets. The average funded account balance is over $9,000. There are currently over 1,760 account holders — a 55% increase since the beginning of 2021.
“The North Carolina School for the Deaf was honored to have Treasurer Folwell engage in a dialogue with our middle and high school students. The recognition of artwork designed by our students for the NC ABLE Program was truly a humbling experience,” said Mark Patrick, NCSD Director.
The assembly concluded with a special Halloween treat. Patrick was presented with a check in the amount of $4,512.36 that was located by DST’s Unclaimed Property Division.
“The NC School for the Deaf was thrilled at the presentation of unclaimed funds. We cherish the opportunity to utilize the funds in a way to empower our students to continue to be lifelong learners,” Patrick said.