The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014 is a tax-advantaged savings program designed for eligible people with disabilities. Also known as 529A ABLE accounts, these funds can be used to help individuals and families pay for qualified disability expenses, such as:
- Assistive technology
Distributions for qualified disability expenses are tax-free.
Furthermore, the money you save does not affect your eligibility for federally funded benefits like Medicaid. However, there are limitations for those receiving Social Security Income (please see below).
ABLE accounts are currently available in most but not all states. You can check to see if your state is eligible here.
Eligibility Requirements for ABLE Accounts
Individuals must meet the following two requirements to be eligible for an ABLE Account:
- Onset: You must have a disability that occurred before your 26th birthday.
- Severity: The disability must meet severity requirements.
- If you currently receive Social Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you are automatically eligible as long as the onset of your disability occurred before your 26th birthday.
- However, if you are not currently receiving SSI or SSDI, you can still meet the severity eligibility with a Disability Certification signed by a qualified physician that states:
- Your diagnosis,
- Date of onset (must be before age 26), and
- Specifies that your disability causes marked and severe limitations in your life.
Contribution Limits for ABLE Accounts
While anyone can contribute to an ABLE account, there are some limitations.
- Firstly, there is a $16,000 contribution limit per calendar year, plus additional for working individuals.
- Secondly, there are total balance limits for ABLE accounts. These limits vary by state and can range from $235,000 to over $500,000.
- Finally, there are limitations for individuals who receive SSI.
- The first $100,000 in ABLE accounts is exempt from SSI's $2,000 individual resource limit.
- However, if the ABLE account balance, when combined with other resources, exceeds the $100,000 SSI resource limit, SSI cash benefits will be suspended.
- When resources no longer exceed $100,000, benefits are reinstated without a time limit.
- If non-ABLE resources alone are over the limit, this rule does not apply.
- Even if a person is no longer eligible for SSI cash benefits under this limitation, they will still qualify for Medicaid benefits.
- 10 Things to Know About ABLE Accounts from the ABLE National Resource Center
- Federal Guidance Information from the ABLE National Resource Center
- Video on eligibility
- ABLE Accounts – Tax Benefit for People with Disabilities from the IRS
- Tax Strategies for Parents of Kids with Special Needs
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Furthermore, the information on this page is not a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For this reason, always seek the advice of your physician, therapist, or other qualified health provider with any questions or concerns you may have.