The ABLE Act was signed into law in December 2014. It is a law that limits eligibility to persons with significant disabilities whose onset date was before the age of 26 years old. If a person is already 26, meets this requirement, and receives SSI or SSDI benefits, they are automatically eligible for an ABLE Account. Even if you're not on SSI or SSDI, but you meet the age requirement you may still be eligible for an ABLE Account. Each state has its own program, including Texas.To qualify you must meet the definition for functional limitations and you will need a letter from your doctor certifying that you have functional limitations.
In order to qualify for SSI, Medicaid, SNAP, HUD, for example you cannot have more than $2000 in cash savings, retirement or anything else of substantial value. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid do not count monies that are saved in a person's ABLE account when making their decision for qualifying for benefits. In other words, families receiving these federal benefits can save monies without losing their SSI or other related benefits previously mentioned.
So how does it work? Anyone can contribute money to the account. The money within the account can be spent on improving health, housing, transportation, education, technology that is assistive, personal support, employment training, and the list goes on. Further if used for qualified expenses under ABLE, the accounts can continue to grow absent federal and most state taxes. Each state has its own ABLE program. Some states offer nationwide enrollment.
There is also an ABLE National Resource Center where you may visit for more information. There are fees involved and generally these are low. Some fees are waived and in some circumstances.
**As of this writing, Congress introduced the ABLE Age Adjustment Act (S. 651 and H.R. 1814) in early 2019. Once this law is passed, it will shift the onset date from age 26 to onset before age 46. This is hugely important and will support so many others with disabilities whose onset dates were not so narrowly age defined.
This blog is intended for information purposes only and does not establish legal representation or financial guidance.