Eastern Michigan University professors selected as first place winners of the 2017 Journal of Financial Service Professionals Author Award for research on the ABLE Act and special needs planning

Eastern Michigan University professors selected as first place winners of the 2017 Journal of Financial Service Professionals Author Award for research on the ABLE Act and special needs planning

YPSILANTI – Two Eastern Michigan University professors have been selected as the first place winners of the Journal of Financial Service Professionals 2017 Kenneth Black Jr. Journal Author Award for their article titled “Enabling ABLE: Five Potential Positives for Implementing the ABLE Act.”  

Lewis Hershey
Lewis Hershey

The March 2017 piece was written by Lewis Hershey, department head and professor in the EMU College of Business; Annemarie Kelly, assistant professor in the Department of Health Administration in the EMU College of Health and Human Services; and Boris Abbey, a former professor of business at Campbell University in North Carolina.

Each year, a panel of judges from the Journal of Financial Service Professionals selects three original articles that advance scholarly research and the financial services field. This year’s award comes with $1,500, to be divided among the authors.

“This article is focused on a groundbreaking law passed in December of 2014 called the “Achieving a Better Life Experience” or “ABLE” Act.

 “The Act is unique because it allows people to set aside tax-free money for a range of items, including education, housing, and transportation,” Hershey said.

Professor Kelly said, “The ABLE statute carves out a special exception in U.S. tax law and allows qualified beneficiaries to save money for their disability-related expenses without the threat of losing their eligibility for government programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security.”

Annemarie Kelly
Annemarie Kelly

For the past three years, Hershey and Kelly have been working to analyze how the ABLE Act impacts individuals with disabilities and their families. Their award-winning article analyzes the populations most affected by the ABLE Act and concludes that at least five key issues will arise for financial planners as ABLE savings accounts continue to grow across the country:

1. Increased client needs for special needs planning.

2. New opportunities help collect third-party donations for disability-related expenses.

3. The possibility for increased efficiencies in special needs financial planning.

4. New ways to provision ABLE account inheritances.

5. New ways to coordinate ABLE savings with existing special-needs financial planning tools.

“ABLE accounts create a lot of opportunities for producers to help clients with special needs, and our article outlines five specific benefits of ABLE savings accounts”  Hershey said. “In the same issue of the journal, we also published another article on five major concerns or pitfalls about ABLE savings accounts that financial planners need to be aware of when analyzing whether an ABLE savings accounts would benefit a particular client’s needs.”

About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, EMU is the second oldest university in Michigan. It currently serves 20,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Health and Human Services; Technology, and its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about EMU, visit the University's website.

May 24, 2018

Written by:
Geoff Larcom

Contact:
Geoff Larcom
glarcom@emich.edu
734-487-4400