ABLE Savings Accounts

If you, or a family member, has a disability and you are not familiar with ABLE savings accounts, then please listen up.

ABLE stands for Achieving a Better Life Experience. A person is eligible to open an ABLE account if they sustained a significant disability prior to the age of 26. Any income earned on the account is not taxable. Contributions to the account can be made by any person – the account beneficiary, family, or friends – with post-tax dollars. These donations are not tax-deductible and cannot exceed $14,000 per year.

The great news is that individuals on SSI, Medicaid and other assistance programs are finally allowed to have more than $2000 in their possession and still qualify for federal services, as long as the balance on the account is less than $100,000. This provides the ability to save money for a vehicle, housing or other needs.

The money in the ABLE account can only be used for “qualified disability expenses.” There is a fine if funds are used for other expenses. The phrase qualified disability expenses is rather broad and includes education, housing, transportation, employment, assistive technology, personal support services, health prevention and wellness, and funeral and burial expenses (http://www.abletn.gov/qualified-expenses.html).

Right now, all 50 states recognize ABLE accounts, although only four have active accounts. Three of those states allow non-residents to open ABLE accounts. Each state differs in its options for investing your money, so do your research or request assistance from a financial advisor. Setting up the account can be done online through the state’s ABLE website and is very easy to do.

I plan on saving money for a down payment for a new modified van in my ABLE account instead of my regular savings account. I’ll also be transferring money budgeted for medical expenses into that account. We all know how co-pays and deductibles add up quickly. I’m planning ahead and hope to have this money ready when those bills arrive in my mailbox.

For those with a disability that was sustained after age 26, there is good news. The ABLE Age Adjustment Act (S. 2704/HR 4813) would raise the age limit for ABLE accounts to age 46. From what I can tell, this bill will be taken to the Senate and the House sometime in the near future.

For more information, visit the ABLE National Resource Center at http://ablenrc.org.

Jenny

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