Is it time to quit blogging?

blogging Is it time to quit blogging?

Is it time to quit  blogging here at Last Mom?  I’ve been asking myself that question for months now.

I got busy with my new LuLaRoe business in the spring (and then even busier in the summer when the inventory arrived).  Starting this new business  Is it time to quit blogging?  has taken up pretty much every minute and thought I have.  However, as I’m move towards the year mark I’m making a conscious effort to regain some balance.

I miss writing. I’ve started pitching and submitting freelance work again.

However, while I’ve missed writing, I’m not sure I’ve actually missed BLOGGING Is it time to quit blogging?  . At least, not in the way I was doing it.

Putting it all out there for people to dissect is exhausting.

And after the extended time away, I’ve realized it wasn’t healthy for me.

I woke up January 1 and decided to quit blogging at Last Mom, but to keep the Last Mom Facebook page going. I have changed my mind about 6 million times back and forth since then.

I love the community of Last Mom readers. I am so proud we have helped so many foster and adoptive families Is it time to quit blogging?  feel not as alone. I beam when you tell me how my girl has inspired you and given insight into trauma  Is it time to quit blogging?  and child mental health. I will forever be grateful for your encouragement and support.

But this half a year without blogging much has shown me how healivly the judgement , criticism and mean comments that come with putting it all out there weighed on me. I’m tired of trying to write anonymously when I am all over the internet with my other writing, but I can’t completely “come out of the shadows” at on this blog because so much of what I have written is so deeply personal.

And Princess is sixteen  now.  I used to feel at least partial ownership of the stories and while she’s still fine with the blog, it just doesn’t feel the same to me now that she’s in high school.  Plus, there’s really not a whole lot to write about.  Trauma isn’t riding shotgun in our world any longer.  It’s not even in the backseat. It’s stuffed in the trunk under piles of typical teenager stuff.

 

So I’m kind of at a crossroads.  There is information about trauma, adoption, anxiety disorder, etc.  I think is valuable that I want to always make accessible.  I’m in the process of reverting all the posts to drafts (a long process since there are nearly 2,000 posts!).  Then I’ll go through them and decide what to do with them.

We haven’t disappeared.  We’re doing very well.  I post little snippets of our lives on Facebook most days, so come follow along over there while I decide what to do here.

I don’t think I’m going to completely quit blogging, but things definitely have to change for my own well-being.

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ABLE United FAQs: Floridians with disabilities, read this!

ABLE United Logo ABLE United FAQs: Floridians with disabilities, read this!

ABLE United sponsored this post, but all thoughts are my own.  

Attention Floridians with disabilities or those who have loved ones with disabilities living in Florida!!!  ABLE United launched over the summer and is a fantastic program for helping people with disabilities financially plan for the future.

I worked with at risk children and families for years. I adopted a child from the foster care system who has special emotional needs.  I’ve met hundreds (maybe thousands!) of parents of children with a wide variety of special needs through adoption groups, writing about parenting and working in the fields of social services and education.

All parents stress about their child’s future.  But the parents I just mentioned?  I stress times ten.

Our kids need us so much more – and might always need that extra help.

ABLE stands for “Better Life Experience” and that’s just what it does.  It helps families take some of the financial burden away.  There’s so much more to life than money, but money (or lacking it) sure does overshadow on all the the other stuff sometimes.  Financial security means a better chance for a higher life quality.

Here’s what you need to know about ABLE!  The folks at ABLE have answered some of the most frequently asked questions about the program.  Here’s the scoop.  Learn more at www.ableunited.com.  They have an eligibility wizard to help you determine if you or your loved one might qualify.

Frequently Asked Questions About ABLE United

Q: What is the ABLE Act?

The Stephen Beck, Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, a federal law enacted in December 2014, authorizes each state to establish a program that offers tax-free savings and investment options to encourage individuals with a disability and their families to save private funds to support health, independence, and quality of life. Money contributed to an account in one of these programs is generally disregarded when determining eligibility for federal benefit programs, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid.
In July 2015, the state of Florida created the ABLE United Program which launched on June 8, 2016.

Q: What is the ABLE United Program?

The ABLE United Program is the qualified ABLE program offered by the state of Florida. The Program is administered by Florida ABLE, Inc. a direct-support organization of the Florida Prepaid College Board (Board). The Board, established in 1987, oversees approximately $15 billion in collective investments in the Stanley G. Tate Florida Prepaid College Program and the Florida 529 Savings Program.

Q: What is an ABLE account?

An ABLE account is a tax-free savings and investment account established to support qualified disability expenses for an individual with a disability, including living expenses. Money in an ABLE account is generally disregarded when determining eligibility for federal benefit programs, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid.
The ABLE United Program is the qualified ABLE program offered by the state of Florida. ABLE accounts in the ABLE United Program are referred to as ABLE United accounts.
Eligibility

Q: Who may open an ABLE United account?

There are three eligibility criteria for opening an ABLE United account:

  • (1) Disability Severity Criteria
    The individual must be blind or have a disability that meets the disability and severity requirements for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
  • (2) Disability Onset
    The onset of blindness or disability must have occurred before the individual’s 26th birthday. Current age is not considered when opening an ABLE United account – except that the account must be opened by an adult 18 years of age or older.
  • (3) Florida Residency
    The individual must be a Florida residential the time of application.

Q: Does my condition meet the eligibility requirements for an ABLE United account?

An individual meets the disability and severity criteria to open an ABLE United account if at least one of the following are true:

  1. The individual receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
  2. The individual has a condition on the List of Compassionate Allowances Conditions maintained by the Social Security Administration.
  3. The individual has a diagnosis from a physician that the individual has a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that results in marked and severe functional limitation(s), and which can be expected to result in death, or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.

The Internal Revenue Service categorizes eligible disabilities as follows:

  • Developmental Disorders: Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Asperger’s Disorder, Developmental delays and learning disabilities
    Intellectual Disability: May be reported as mild, moderate, or severe intellectual disability
  • Psychiatric Disorders: Schizophrenia, Major depressive disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Anorexia Nervosa, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD), Bipolar Disorder
  • Nervous Disorders: Blindness, Deafness, Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Spina Bifida, Juvenile-onset Huntington’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Severe sensorineural hearing loss, Congenital cataracts
  • Congenital Anomalies: Chromosomal abnormalities, including Down Syndrome; OsteogenesisImperfecta, XerodermaPigmentosum, Spinal muscular atrophy, Fragile X Syndrome, Edwards Syndrome
  • Respiratory Disorders: Cystic Fibrosis
  • Other: Includes Tetralogy of Fallot, Hypoplastic left heart syndrome, End-stage liver disease, Juvenile-onset rheumatoid arthritis, Sickle cell disease, Hemophilia, and any other disability not listed

Q: How will an ABLE United account affect my federal and state benefits?

An ABLE United account is disregarded when determining federal and state benefit eligibility with the following two exceptions for individuals receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI):
1. For the purposes of determining eligibility for SSI, money in an ABLE United account in excess of $100,000 is considered an asset to the individual with a disability and may cause SSI benefits to be reduced or suspended. An account balance up to and including $100,000 is disregarded.
2. A withdrawal that will be used for a housing expense but that is not spent in the same month will be considered an asset of the individual with a disability and may cause SSI benefits to be reduced or suspended.
There is no impact on Medicaid benefits, regardless of how much money is in the ABLE United account, even if SSI benefits are reduced or suspended due to the ABLE United account.
To determine whether your specific state benefits may be impacted, please contact your provider.

Q: How do I access funds in an ABLE United account?

Money in an ABLE United account may be withdrawn at any time and for any reason via electronic transfer or check. If the money is spent on one of the following Qualified Disability Expenses, which are intended to include “living expenses” and are not required to be medically necessary, the earnings on the money withdrawn is tax-free:
– Health
– Education
– Housing
– Transportation
– Legal Fees
– Financial Management
– Employment Training and Support
– Assistive Technology and Personal Support Services
– Oversight and Monitoring
– Funeral and Burial
– Other expenses approved by the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury

Q: Do withdrawals require approval from the ABLE United Program?

No. The ABLE United Program does not approve withdrawals from an ABLE United account. Money may be withdrawn from an ABLE United account at any time and for any reason.

Q: Who determines whether my expense is a Qualified Disability Expense?

Each year, the ABLE United Program will report the total amount of distributions to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as part of our annual tax reporting. The IRS may investigate the distributions from an ABLE United account to determine if a withdrawal was for a Qualified Disability Expense.
In addition, the ABLE United Program will report the date and amount of each distribution from an ABLE United account to the Social Security Administration monthly. If the individual with a disability receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Medicaid, the Social Security Administration may investigate any distribution to determine if the withdrawal was for a Qualified Disability Expense.
In general, we recommend that documents and information adequate to justify each expense as qualified be retained by the individual or person administering the ABLE United account on their behalf.

Q: How do I open an ABLE United account?

You may open an ABLE United account quickly and easily online at ableunited.com. Enrollment may be completed by the individual with a disability or someone with legal authority over the individual, such as a parent or legal guardian.

Q: Who may contribute to an ABLE United account?

Anyone may contribute to an ABLE United account on behalf of the individual with a disability, including the individual, an employer, friends and family. Contributions are considered a completed gift.

Q: Is there a limit to the amount of money that may be contributed to an ABLE United account?

The individual with a disability and others contributing on their behalf, may contribute up to $14,000 in total to an ABLE Account each year.
Contributions are not allowed if and when the account balance is at, or above, $418,000.

Q: Who owns and manages an ABLE United account?

The individual with a disability is the owner of the ABLE United account and may manage the account independently. However, if the individual is not able or chooses not to establish or manage the account, a parent, legal guardian or someone authorized by the individual may establish and oversee the account.

Q: How are the funds in an ABLE United Account invested?

The ABLE United Program offers multiple savings and investment options with varying degrees of investment risk. An individual with a disability, or an authorized person on their behalf, may choose the most appropriate option(s). The underlying savings and investment products for each investment option are managed by professional investment management firms selected by the ABLE United Program based on investment philosophy and strategy; performance history; and organizational experience and financial stability.

Ready to find out if you qualify?  Visit the eligibility wizard to get started.

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ABLE United allows brighter future for Floridians with disabilities

ABLE United Logo ABLE United allows brighter future for Floridians with disabilities

I have exciting news, Floridians!!!!  ABLE United has launched in Florida!!!

This is big news for parents of children with special needs – and for adults as well!

The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act  authorizes states to create tax-free savings accounts for individuals with disabilities.  Florida is one of the first states to launch.

Do you or your child qualify for SSI or SSDI and live in Florida?  This brand new program might help ease the financial burden that comes with special needs and disabilities.

I used the Eligibility Wizard and quickly learned Princess likely qualifies for an account because of her PTSD diagnosis.  This means access to help ensure a brighter, more secure future as she grows into adulthood (something that is occurring way too quickly!).

What is ABLE United?

ABLE United allows people with disabilities to save for better life experiences.

Like a Roth IRA or a 529 college savings plan, an ABLE United account is a tax-free savings account that helps individuals with disabilities save for the future. The individual owns the account, but an authorized person may establish and help oversee the account.

After years of advocating, negotiating, and compromising, the Stephen Beck Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act was passed into law. The ABLE Act now allows for the creation of savings and investment accounts for people with disabilities without negatively impacting federal benefits. Florida is among the first states to implement the law, which created the ABLE United program.

ABLE United will allow Floridians with disabilities to save like never before – by receiving tax incentives to save for future expenses and building assets without risk of losing federal benefits such as SSI and Medicaid. Funds in an ABLE account can be used, tax-free, for living expenses such as housing, education, and health and wellness services.

ABLE United advantages:

  • Save tax-free for future expenses
  • Save while maintaining federal benefits
  • Save on fees – ABLE United offers the best value for Florida residents

Advocates and family members united more than a decade ago to create a grassroots movement that resulted in one of the most important pieces of legislation for the disability community in years.  Now, we can unite for all to achieve a better life experience!

Who is eligible to open an ABLE United account?

There are three eligibility criteria for opening an ABLE United account:

  1. Florida Residency: The individual must be a Florida resident at the time of application.
  2. Disability Severity Criteria: The individual must be blind or have a disability that meets the disability and severity requirements for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
  3. Disability Onset: The onset of blindness or disability must have occurred before the individual’s 26th birthday. Current age is not considered when opening an ABLE United account – except that the account must be opened by an adult 18 years of age or older.For more information on ABLE United, go to ableunited.com.

What disabilities are considered for ABLE United eligibility?

  • Developmental Disorders: Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Asperger’s Disorder, Developmental Delays and Learning Disabilities – Intellectual Disability: May be reported as mild, moderate, or severe intellectual disability
  • Psychiatric Disorders: Schizophrenia, Major depressive disorder, Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Anorexia nervosa, Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD), Bipolar disorder
  • Nervous Disorders: Blindness, Deafness, Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Spina Bifida, Juvenile-onset Huntington’s disease, Multiple sclerosis, Severe sensorineural hearing loss, Congenital cataracts
  • Congenital Anomalies: Chromosomal abnormalities, including Down syndrome; Osteogenesis imperfecta, Xeroderma pigmentosum, Spinal muscular atrophy, Fragile X syndrome, Edwards syndrome
  • Respiratory Disorders: Cystic Fibrosis
  • Other: Includes Tetralogy of Fallot, Hypoplastic left heart syndrome, End-stage liver disease, Juvenile-onset rheumatoid arthritis, Sickle cell disease, Hemophilia, and any other disability not listed

How do I open an ABLE United account?

You may open an ABLE United account quickly and easily online at ableunited.com. Enrollment may be completed by the individual with a disability or someone with legal authority over the individual, such as a parent, legal guardian, or a person acting under a power of attorney.

Who may contribute to an ABLE United account?

Anyone may contribute to an ABLE United account on behalf of the individual with a disability, including the individual, friends and family. Contributions are considered a completed gift.

Learn more:

http://www.ableunited.com

ABLE United Facebook

Eligibility Wizard 

Quick Start Guide

FAQS

 

This post is sponsored through ABLEUnited and Bloggin’ Mama, but all opinions are my own.  

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