COVID-19, Disability, SSI

ABLE Accounts: Building Upon the Promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act

July 27, 2020 • By

Last Updated: March 17, 2021

Approximately one in five Americans has a disability. These Americans have the same hopes and dreams to participate in society as everyone else. On July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act. President Bush then said, “As the Declaration of Independence has been a beacon for people all over the world seeking freedom, it is my hope that the Americans with Disabilities Act will likewise come to be a model for the choices and opportunities of future generations around the world.”

The American with Disabilities Act requires accessibility for people with disabilities and prohibits discrimination. It extends the promise of equal opportunity and full participation for those people living with a disability.

Full participation includes the opportunity to become economically self-sufficient. Yet, millions of people with disabilities and their families depend on programs such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for food, housing, and other benefits. These programs are restricted to those people who have limited income, resources and savings.  Historically, to continue receiving benefits under these and other programs, you cannot save money.

Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) accounts help eligible beneficiaries save and have power over their own money. The funds in an ABLE account are not counted by most federally-funded means-tested benefit programs like Medicaid and SNAP. SSI does not count up to $100,000 in an ABLE account.

Disability-related expenses can lead to financial stress. Savings and contributions made to an ABLE account by the account owner, their family, friends, employer or other sources, can be used for emergencies or to support education and the owner’s future retirement. The funds can also be used for qualified disability expenses including food, housing and maintenance, medical expenses, and expenses related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. ABLE accounts add an additional layer of financial security, especially while navigating an uncertain future.

Over 63,000 individuals—out of an estimated eight million who are eligible—have opened ABLE accounts to date, making ABLE accounts one of the most under-used ways to save money and retain much needed benefits. For many people with disabilities, ABLE accounts have transformed their lives. Read our ABLE Ambassadors stories to learn what motivated them to take advantage of this opportunity and what advice they have for those who have not yet taken this important step.

To learn more about ABLE accounts and state ABLE programs, visit the ABLE National Resource Center (ABLE NRC), managed by National Disability Institute. The website has information on how to become ABLE ready and offers a state ABLE program comparison tool and guidance on setting financial goals. Building on the promise of the American with Disabilities Act, the ABLE Act can forever change lives by providing the opportunity to save money in an easy to open, low-cost, accessible, and tax-advantaged account.

Miranda Kennedy is the Director of the ABLE National Resource Center for the National Disability Institute.

This is a guest blog post created by the National Disability Institute to promote the use of ABLE accounts.  SSA provides this post as a courtesy to help notify the public of ABLE accounts.  SSA is not affiliated with and does not endorse the National Disability Institute or its services.

Tags: , ,

See Comments

About the Author


  1. Hospitals &.

    RE: Sanders, Tony J. Chest. Hospitals & Asylums HA-27-7-20

    Hydrocortisone, Eucalyptus, Lavender and Peppermint (HELP) Act

    To provide for all workers disabled by the COVID-19 pandemic and their families aiming to end child poverty by 2020 and all poverty by 2030.

    To prescribe all unemployment compensation beneficiaries and disability applicants HELP – Hydrocortisone creme and essential oil of Eucalyptus, Lavender and Peppermint aromatherapy to cure coronavirus and mold allergies.

    Be it enacted in the House and Senate Assembled

    (a) The Treasury and Customs Commissioner must decide the devaluate the dollar 10-12% to offset the cost of the special issue bonds from Relief acts and regular t-bonds sold to pay for the federal deficit by the beginning of the new fiscal year October 1, 2020 pursuant to the Marshall Lerner Condition under 19USC§4421 and 22USC§5301.

    (1) To relieve the high cost of unemployment compensation relief acts the +/- $250 billion balance available of funds unspent by the Relief Acts after devaluation will be used to provide impoverished COVID-19 disabled workers disability insurance (DI), and all children growing up in poverty a supplemental security income (SSI) benefit at no cost to taxpayers until January 1, 2020 when the tax loophole for the rich and state employee legislated as Adjustment to Contribution Base in Sec. 230 of the Social Security Act under 42USC§430 shall be repealed and amended: ‘Supplemental Security Income Trust Fund’ ‘There is created in the Treasury an SSI Trust Fund to provide for all workers disabled by the COVID-19 pandemic and their families aiming to end child poverty by 2020 and all poverty by 2030.’

    (b) Regardless of the fact that coronavirus and mold allergies are cured with nose sanitizing hydrocortisone creme, and essential oil of lavender, peppermint or eucalyptus aromatherapy, everyone out of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic shall be considered disabled pursuant to Sec. 3(4)(E)(i)(I) of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 under 42USC§12102(4)(E)(i)(I). The term ”disability” means the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months pursuant to Sec. 223 of the Social Security Act under 42USC§423.

    (1) To protect the workforce from contagious disease, it must be required that all applicants are informed hydrocortisone creme, essential oil of lavender, peppermint and eucalyptus nose sanitizer cures coronavirus and mold allergies pursuant to Sec. 103(b) of the ADA under 42USC§12113(b). All disability applicants shall be prescribed HELP by the Ticket to Work Program – hydrocortisone creme and essential oil of eucalyptus, lavender and peppermint aromatherapy – to at least medically treat COVID-19 pandemic disabled workers and workplaces who might be bankrupted by the cost of the Relief Acts pursuant to the higher standards of Sutton v. United Air Lines, Inc., 527 U.S. 471 (1999) and Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. v. Williams, 534 U.S. 184 (2002).

    (c) To defend the public against contagious airborne disease and pollutants pursuant to Sec. 103(e)(4) of the ADA under 42USC§12113(e)(4) is commonly appended: The Secretaries of Health and Human Services, and Environmental Protection Agency, (who list six air pollutants 2019), not later than October 1, 2020, shall review all airborne pollutants, infectious and communicable diseases of concern to respiratory health in the workplace and disseminate this information to the public, along with information on the best available medical treatment.

  2. Johnetta D.

    I wanted to start a PA Able account for my son, but then was told that if he died, the funds would go to the state. Is that true? Why don’t you ever see that written in the program details? I would be sacrificing to save with this program. I have a grandson who will be needing support, if I started an ABLE account for my son and he passed away prior to using the funds, my grandson would be left without.

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Johnetta, thanks for using our blog. To learn more about ABLE accounts and state ABLE programs, visit the ABLE National Resource Center (ABLE NRC), managed by National Disability Institute. The website has information on how to become ABLE ready and offers a state ABLE program comparison tool and guidance on setting financial goals.

  3. Faustina C.

    This sounds like a good idea but who’s paying for it? Is it coming out of the money that individuals paid into all their lives for Social Security? Is that why they continue to threaten Social Security as a whole and now we are being told it is an entitlement? ABEL is an entitlement. We worked for years to get Social Security as a benefit!

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Faustina, thanks for using our blog. To learn more about ABLE accounts and state ABLE programs, visit the ABLE National Resource Center (ABLE NRC), managed by National Disability Institute. The website has information on how to become ABLE ready and offers a state ABLE program comparison tool and guidance on setting financial goals.

  4. Janell F.

    How much can I get I’m 54

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Janell, thank you for the question. Check out our Frequently Asked Questions web page for information on how to get a Social Security Statement that shows a record of your earnings and an estimate of your future benefits. We hope this helps!

  5. Crystal

    Yes, but these ABLE accounts also go into the stock market. People with disabilities don’t have money to just throw away like that. And if the stock market crashes, you could lose everything you worked hard to save, even in a money market account, which is the lowest risk option. We need a way to save money without the risk of losing everything. Most of these ABLE programs have quarterly fees as well.

    I have no savings right now because I was on SSI for so long; I’m not anymore, though. When you have to crunch every penny, you don’t just throw money into a market that can crash any day. I still have no way to save right now. I think everyone should be able to have at least 3 months of expenses saved for emergencies. Life will inevitably throw you catastrophies and you have to have enough saved to bounce back from them. There are a lot of beneficiaries that have nothing saved and were something to happen to them, they would have nothing to fall back on.

  6. Keith B.

    After 10 years of applying and being denied SSA Disability, I was finally approved in 2020. At $400 a month for SSI benefits, a $1600 a month income from one job I’m barely able to maintain due to physical injuries. Living with relatives because I can’t afford a place of my own. Rents require you earn 3x the rental price for most apartments.
    I’ve been cut-off from SNAP before because of creative math the state uses for eligibility requirements. For example, I earn $1600 a month gross. The cut-off earnings are $1680 a month. The state added 3 days to the month, so I was above the cap. Why do I not trust government programs? That’s just one example.

    • Mary A.

      Now I know why I was cut off from SNAP after 2 deliveries. My SSRI income. Sad state of affairs when you can’t depend on the government for nutrition. Why? Because I worked 46 years and only get 1600 ssdi but cannot live on that. Used all my retirement to live because it took 3 years to get approves.

  7. Evelyn T.

    With the Disabled you need to direct help with those who have Disabilities. They can not fet out rely on INTERNET. I as one ( separated) had a husband that used TECH APPS. New Technology TO BLOCK INTERNET FROM THE WHOLE HOUSE WITH THESE NEW BLOCKING/ PARENTAL PRODUCTS ARE BEING USED ON THE DISABLED WHEN THEY ARE NEEDING HELP. Their INTERNET IS PURPOSELY BEING BLOCKED BY DEVICES IN THE ADMIN. HANDS ( Control issues nan uses this as a weapon) PLEASE LOOK AT 7/27/20 CHANNEL 5 KTLA It tells THE ITEMS NEEDED WHICH MY HUSBAND USED ON ME THEN PHYSICALLY VERBALLY ATTACKED ME. I had no outside help no cell access In MOUNTAIN RURAL AREAS NEED INTERNET. Thank you Help Us Disabled even when Spouses are being ABUSIVE

  8. Joann P.

    Thanks ? you

  9. Vern J.

    I have all my legs and all my arms
    Little over half my breathing .
    70 years vet. Up to know there
    Has been no help .i do not think
    There is any help coming to me.
    If there is it would have come.

  10. Chukwuemeka J.

    Do you offer zoom interview for in-person services?

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Chukwuemeka, thanks for using our blog. Although our offices remain closed to the public for face-to-face service, we are still able to provide critical services via phone, fax and online. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance or you can contact your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

Comments are closed.