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

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.

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67 thoughts on “ABLE Accounts: Building Upon the Promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act

  1. My name is Kenneth Graham & I have been having problems with my benefits since last year to my bank via direct deposit.
    The issue is the SSA doing the processing the direct deposit e- files to the Federal Reserve bank.What is not occuring is that upon calling customer support they won’t tell beneficiaries when that process was done by saying,” you don’t get paid until the 1st of every month””THATS NOT CORRECT,THAT IS SUPPOSED TO BE DOCUMENTED EACH TIME DIRECT DEPOSIT EFILES ARE PROCESSES TO THE FEDERAL RESERVE BANK BUT SINCE SSA EMPLOYEES ARE WIRKING FROM HOME & OFFICES ARE CLOSED RHEY ARE NOT DOING DOCUMENTED SERVICES, & WHY DOES THE SSA NOT PROVIDE TRACKING NUMBER TO AUTHORIZED BENEFICIARIES NOR BENEFICIARIES BANK” ” I KNOW WHY BECAUSE SSA EMPLOYEES DONT WANT THEIR SERVICES INVESTIGATED & THE SSA HAS THEIR OWN POLICIES & AUTHORITY STAFF TO DO INTERNAL INVESTIGATIONS & ARE NOT MONITORING SSA EMPLOYEES!!!”…

  2. My problem is that I recieve $848 after the take Medicare. I’m living with one of my adult children and his wife and children. He barely brings home $50,000 a year. I make to much to quantify for any funding. His wife is have there third child. We are all in a 2 bedroom apartment. Because his income counts against me, I have no way out. We are all us citizens by birth and we are all white. Who can we turn to. I forgot to mention my $848 is my disability I worked for 30 years until I couldn’t anymore. He’s my only family and I’m his. What’s really fair. My life’s never been fair. Who helps us?

    • Wow you deserve what you got, whats white got to with anything? So what ! You should take care of yourself period. As for the other should tie a knot in him. If you can’t afford kids dont have them. Or its reap what you sow. So live with it and stop complaining

    • This is an example of white privilege. Being white doesnot entitle you . I am a citizen by birth and I am african american and I am disabled and living on my social security. I was told when my small retirement was almost gone because down turn in the market to get a second job. Maybe with a second job and maybe you and your daughter in law working from home who knows.

  3. I need anything i cant get im hunted daily im not aloud to work get a house for insurance reasons an my brain turned on b.i.b.l.e

  4. At San Francisco Car Detail (http://www.sanfranciscocardetail.com), we truly believe in equality. We’ve hired numerous Americans with disabilities to help provide opportunities for all Americans. If you’re in the position to help make a change, then please do it! You’ll be surprised with how many lives you can change! 🙂

  5. Hello
    I’m trying to figure out why my wife has not heard anything from DDS and apparently it was since January 2020 this time and she applied the first time in 2016 again 2017 again 2018 again in 2020 January
    DDS has done this too her so much
    She has records of being admitted 4 times in Last year.
    Hit by drunk Driver at 10 COMA for 6 wks 3 days Baylor Hospital Dallas.
    No memory before
    Brain injury, 2 skull fractures,,bleeding from left ear, nose, mouth. Intubated 6 wks 3 days. Paralyzed left side 13 mths
    Has major panic attacks everyday
    Nervous wreak as getting older.
    Has had 3 nervous breakdowns
    PTSD, ADHD, GAD, SAD, PANIC ATTACKS cries too herself but I hear her.
    Prays that God will HEAL HER,
    Or Come up with CURE.

    Please help my wife.
    She tries so hard but there is 46 years of paperwork saying the same thing is wrong with her.
    She tried working but never worked out for her.
    Please someone help us.
    Now she is having to see Oncology/Hemotology because LUMPS have shown up and more coming up
    Now 32. Plus rare blood type
    Rh O Negative NULL
    48 people in the world have this blood Type.
    Plus B12 D3 has stayed bottomed out
    White Blood Count over 23,000
    They don’t know what’s wrong

    Sick all the time.
    Please help her.
    Virginia Swann
    02/04/1964

  6. I can’t get any help. Because I am disabled. And because alot of service providers only go by your past. This is absolutely not right. And should never be the case

  7. While the National Disability Institute is here touting the ABLE program (on behalf and at the invitation of the Social Security Administration), it remains silent about the proposed rule from the SSA to impose much more frequent reviews of hundreds of thousands of medically documented disabled SSDI and SSI recipients. Most of this country’s disability advocacy organizations commented on this ill-advised proposal and urged the SSA to rescind it -along with 125,000 U.S. citizens (including many senators and congress people). So far, the Administration appears to be ignoring the will of the people and has not withdrawn the rule. If imposed, this rule will take away the medical care and only income of MANY THOUSANDS of disabled Americans -even the SSA acknowledges this fact!!! The financial hardships caused would be hard to imagine. The National Disability Institute needs to direct it’s efforts where they’re most needed: join the rest of the disability community and work to get this terrible proposed rule withdrawn!!!

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