Disability, Guest Bloggers

ABLE Act: What You Need to Know

December 17, 2020 • By

Last Updated: December 17, 2020

ABLE-Act-What-You-Need-to-KnowOn December 19, 2020, we celebrate the sixth anniversary of the Stephen Beck, Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, which allows eligible people with disabilities to create tax-free savings and investment accounts. On November 19, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service released final ABLE regulations.

The ABLE Act enables people with disabilities to have savings accounts while receiving benefits. Prior to the availability of ABLE accounts, saving money proved challenging for many people living with a disability because programs often have income and resource limits. People with disabilities, have on average, 28% more costs associated with disability-related expenses than those who do not have a disability. ABLE plans allow people to save for those extra costs associated with having a disability, while maintaining public benefits, such as SSI and Medicaid.

Since the first ABLE program opened in 2016, ABLE account holders have saved over $550 million—with more than $100 million spent on disability-related expenses. As of the third quarter of 2020, over 75,000 people with disabilities had opened an ABLE account, with an average of over $6,000 saved and invested in each account. Those numbers demonstrate the ability of ABLE account owners to save for their future needs.However, less than one percent of ABLE-eligible individuals have opened an account.

ABLE accounts can provide funding for qualified disability expenses that supplement, but do not replace, benefits otherwise available through private sources, employment, public programs, or other sources.The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does not restrict the usage of the ABLE funds, leaving it open to items or services that relate to the unique needs of each individual, including those related to COVID-19.

Individuals eligible for ABLE accounts may need assistance opening their account and understanding how to get the maximum benefit from it. The IRS authorizes a priority of order, regarding who may open an account on behalf on an eligible individual:

  • A person selected by the eligible individual.
  • An agent under a power of attorney, conservator, or legal guardian.
  • A spouse, parent, sibling, or grandparent.
  • A representative payee (individual or organization).

An account opened by a representative payee that we appoint must meet all of the Social Security account rules and requirements.

ABLE accounts promote independence for people with disabilities. Please review the ABLE National Resource Center summary to read more highlights from the final regulations.

There are 45 ABLE plans available and their savings/investment limits range from $235,000 to $529,000. To learn about ABLE accounts and the ABLE plans available to choose from, please visit the ABLE National Resource Center at www.ablenrc.org, managed by the National Disability Institute.


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  1. amanda62

    Reply
  2. Lorrainne

    I live in California gets ssdi wat are your able thing you talkn bout. Can i get one too or i cant.

    Reply
    • Vonda

      Hi Lorrainne, thank you for using our blog. The IRS, not Social Security, sends all economic impact payments. Unfortunately, our telephone representatives and social media team cannot answer your specific situation about payments. You can find the latest information available from the IRS website. If you don’t see the answer to your question, you can call the IRS’ payment hotline at 1-800-919-9835. Thanks!

      Reply
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  4. Jamie

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  5. Jean allen

    I am on Disability and I will turn 66 this year. When my husband retires will I be able to draw on his social security? Is there anything I can do to add to my monthly amount?

    Reply
    • Ann C., Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi, Jean. To qualify for spouse’s benefits, your spouse must be receiving retirement or disability benefits. Keep in mind that if you qualify for your own retirement benefits and for benefits as a spouse, we always pay your own benefits first. If your benefits as a spouse are higher than your own retirement benefits, you will get a combination of benefits equaling the higher spouse benefit. Visit here for more information. We hope this helps.

      Reply
  6. Jhon David

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  7. Amy

    Is there any scenario where someone on SSI absolutely cannot have an ABLE account?

    Reply
  8. Kelly

    Hi I became disabled in 2004, hurt at work. I had the amount of points needed to be able to get disability income. I had a opened workers comp case from 1999 till resent and never informed by my attorney that I could collect both. Well now I’m being told that I can’t have it due to I didn’t work and earn the points 8n the last 5 years to get it. Why? I no longer receive any wc money what can I do?

    Reply
    • Vonda

      For your security, Kelly, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance or you can call 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.

      Reply
  9. Judy Tyson

    I have a question: If you were married for 21 years an divorced an you are disabled and receive money on your x husbands acct an he has passed away are you allowed to get survivor benefits?

    Reply
    • Vonda

      Hi Judy, thanks for using our blog. If you are the divorced spouse of a worker who dies, you could get benefits the same as a widow or widower, provided that your marriage lasted 10 years or more. Benefits paid to you as a surviving divorced spouse won’t affect the benefit amount for other survivors getting benefits on the worker’s record. If you remarry after you reach age 60 (age 50 if disabled), the remarriage will not affect your eligibility for survivors benefits.

      You may be able to receive full benefits at your full retirement age for survivors or reduced benefits as early as age 60.

      Check out our If You Are The Survivor web page for additional details.

      To apply for benefits, 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.

      Reply

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