ABLE Programs Prepare for Expanded EligibilityReading Time: 2 Minutes
Last Updated: December 14, 2023
December marks the anniversary of the signing of the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. Important changes are coming to ABLE programs across the country. These programs are life-changing financial empowerment tools for Americans living with disabilities. ABLE provides a way to save money and build financial independence without affecting eligibility for important benefits, like those administered by Social Security.
ABLE programs allow people with disabilities to save without losing access to important benefits. They come with great tax benefits – like tax-free growth and tax-free withdrawals when used for qualified disability expenses. The range of qualified disability expenses is extensive. It includes everything from day-to-day living expenses like groceries or rent – to bigger expenses like assistive technology and vehicle adaptations.
The first ABLE program opened in 2016. Today, 46 states and Washington, D.C. have ABLE programs. More than 137,000 tax-advantaged ABLE accounts have been opened – and people have saved over $1.25 billion so far to help pay for disability-related expenses.
The ABLE Age Adjustment Act’s proposed amendment was signed into law in December 2022. Starting in 2026, another 6 million Americans (including 1 million veterans) will have access to ABLE programs. Currently, the onset of a person’s disability must be before the age of 26 – but the new law increases that age to 46.
As a veteran, I’m thrilled because 1 million more disabled veterans will have access to ABLE programs. Many of our brave veterans suffer serious, often debilitating, injuries as the direct result of serving our country. These injuries often happen to selfless heroes. Expanding access to ABLE accounts will be a tremendous benefit to my brothers and sisters in the military who sacrificed to protect us all.
While the amendment doesn’t take effect until 2026, now is the time for ABLE administrators and partners to develop outreach strategies. With active and aggressive promotion of ABLE programs, more Americans will know about ABLE and be prepared to start saving in 2026.
Expanding outreach won’t just help newly eligible people prepare to save, it’ll help those already eligible, to learn about the great benefits of ABLE accounts.
I encourage anyone who wants to explore saving with ABLE to look into their state’s program. ABLE programs are powerful tools and live up to their name, ensuring a better life experience for our friends and neighbors with disabilities.
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