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ABLE accounts enhance the lives of individuals with disabilities

Beginning June 1, 2016, qualified individuals around the country can establish an account with the ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) program. An ABLE account is a new option for assisting individuals with disabilities gain and maintain financial and personal autonomy and independence.

Here are a few of the requirements for an ABLE account:

  • The individual’s disability must have begun before age 26
  • Total annual contributions are limited to $14,000, with inflation adjustments
  • For an individual on SSI (Supplemental Security Income), the maximum account limit is $100,000
  • Withdrawals must be for “qualifying disability expenses,” as defined in federal regulations
  • After the individual’s death, the state shall be reimbursed for public assistance benefits paid on the individual’s behalf

Several aspects of ABLE accounts are still very new or developing. For example, Ohio is the first state to offer ABLE accounts (as of June 1, 2016), and other states are expected to follow soon.  Social Security regulations have been adopted, but tax regulations are still pending.  Wisconsin residents may open accounts in another state, as allowed by federal law and recognized by Wisconsin law.  (Wisconsin does not have its own ABLE program, but allows for tax benefits for state income tax purposes.)

Contact one of the attorneys of Christenson Johnson to learn more about how an ABLE account can help you or a loved one as part of comprehensive special needs planning.