ABLEnow blog: Articles

Finding the Freedom to Save


Texas-born Dana Carpenter is quick to point out that Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) isn’t a barrier to living and loving life.

“With just the use of my hands, I graduated college with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology, jumped out of an airplane, and have worked in a variety of fields,” said Dana.

Dana makes the most of what she has. It’s a powerful lesson she learned early on in life. Growing up in a single-parent home, she was taught the importance of being frugal and saving.

“Money can’t necessarily buy you happiness, but it can bring security and peace-of-mind,” said Dana.

As an adult with a disability, Dana realized her need for public services impacted her financial aspirations. She required a way to keep her attendant care and other medical supports, but she also wanted the freedom to save beyond restrictive asset limitations.

In 2018, Dana discovered ABLEnow. She opened her ABLEnow account after comparing the available options, and taking into consideration that her state didn’t offer an ABLE program at that time. Having her own ABLEnow account allows Dana to finally make some smart money moves.

“I felt this huge sense of relief. I was finally able to save for emergencies and big-ticket items. It’s so liberating to be able to save,” Dana shared.

Dana’s ABLEnow savings have allowed her to buy a big-ticket item — a wheelchair-accessible van. In addition, she now has a financial cushion to help cover employment gaps that she’s experienced during the pandemic.

As Dana waits for the pandemic to improve, she dreams of traveling and going to concerts, especially to see her favorite band, the Lumineers. For now, she keeps herself busy by reading, writing, learning, advocating and spending time with her partner. She’s thankful that the savings in her ABLEnow account provides some financial security for whatever the future brings.


Dana Carpenter is a compensated representative for the ABLEnow program. Her experience may not be representative of other account owners.

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