Disability, Guest Bloggers

ABLE Programs Prepare for Expanded Eligibility

December 14, 2023 • By

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Last Updated: December 14, 2023

photo of family togetherDecember 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.

Here in Pennsylvania, we have more than 7,500 PA ABLE account owners who have contributed more than $100 million to accounts in just 6 years. This is remarkable and shows the power of these programs.

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.

Please share this information with friends and family – and post it on social media.

Our posting of this blog does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation of any non-Social Security organization, author, or webpages.

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  1. nhuyhyer

    How long has the ABLE program been in operation?

  2. Wendy

    I was just wondering why it takes so long to allow those of us who are now eligible for an ABLE account to onboard. I was found disabled back to the age of 38. I am now 46 years old and will be 48 before I am able to get an ABLE account (pardon the pun!). What are the logistics behind it taking four years to allow us to sign up? I could most certainly use an ABLE account now. Thanks for any explanation you can offer!

    • Sue

      Hi, Wendy. Thanks for reading our blog and for your question. To learn more about ABLE accounts, please visit the IRS website. We are not affiliated with and do not endorse any ABLE account provider or services. For information about how we treat ABLE accounts, read our SSI Spotlight. We hope this helps. 

      • Suzanne

        Ok thanks.

  3. Terri Z.

    What are the prerequisites for mental disability ?

    • Sue

      Hi, Terri. Thanks for reading our blog and for your question. Social Security pays disability benefits to adults who are unable to work because of a physical or mental condition that is expected to last at least 12 months or more or end in death. Our Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program makes payments to adults and children with disabilities who have limited income and resources. Under Social Security law, children must have a physical or mental condition that very seriously limits their activities, and the condition(s) must have lasted, or be expected to last, at least 12 months or result in death.

      You may find our Adult Listing of Impairments and our Childhood Listing of Impairments useful. For more information or to apply for benefits, please visit Apply for Social Security Benefits. We hope this helps.

      • Regina

        So,I just read about SOAR to benefit homeless ,those transitioning to adulthood. I got a job at 17 then went on to vocational training to become a nurse. I had no help from anyone ,but today we who worked and paid for everything without any assistance are expected to basically adopt these young people and others because they were abused as children which caused them to have phys/ mental issues .
        All people can do some type of work or volunteer.Stop enabling .I paid into SSa for over 45 yrs and still working.Stop using ourvSSa retirement for people who have not earned 40 quarters.,this is not an entitlement,this is a benefit I worked for.

        • Rita P.

          Regina I hear you…I worked 2-3 jobs as a single Mom in Recovery after. Obtaining my M.S. Degree. I had to go on Food Stamps (WIC Program) after having my Son. Also was on what was known as “Welfare” back then bc I was single and did not want to depend on My Mom who was retiring with just enough to support herself. I have issues with Migrants and other illegals getting benefits for doing NOTHING after busting my A– for 30 yrs working to get what benefits I get !

    • Den

      It’s easy to agree that few casinos offer great bonuses. Judging by the candid reviews, Vulkan Bet https://vulkanbet-online.club/gr/ has been around for quite some time. It’s also incredible that I don’t have to work all day to accumulate enough

  4. Sierra D.

    I am deeply grateful to the Social Security Administration for their forward-thinking efforts in providing opportunities for disabled adults like myself to build a promising future. These initiatives have allowed individuals with disabilities to pursue avenues that lead us back to meaningful work and goal achievement. My disability originated from a childhood motor vehicle accident, which resulted in a traumatic brain injury after being ejected from a moving vehicle. Over the years, I have taken advantage of programs such as the ticket to work and the PASS program. Despite experiencing periods of worsening disability that prevented me from engaging in substantial work, the innovative programs created by the SSA have been a lifeline for me. Currently, I have been out of work for a year, eagerly awaiting the final approval of my disability application as this is my only source of income and looking forward to benefiting from the ABLE program. I extend my heartfelt gratitude for everything you have done to support me.

  5. Kasina M.

    In 2021 I hired Premier Disability to help me get SSI they won my case in 2022 retroactive pay back to 2021 representative payee in monthly benefits none of that has happened someone has been collecting my benefits for almost 2 years in Social Security does not care I need someone to please help me

    • Faran R.

      Kasina you need to be patient and persistent. I had an appeal case with SSI and it took them more than two years just to get back to me with questions. Every once a while I called them just to make sure the case wasn’t forgotten. I finally got a letter from them after waiting more than two years informing me that soon I’d have an interview set with the judge, and after that my case finalized and I received the payments arrangement notification. Good luck!

    • Sue

      Thanks for reading our blog, Kasina. We’re sorry to learn about your situation. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We encourage you to work with your local Social Security office. We hope this is resolved soon.

    • Md S.

      All the best wishes to the almighty Allah.

  6. Cathy B.

    Sure could use help with my benefits from this social world please look at my financed application of SSA office evaluation and bank deposit print sheets from office and notes please such a identy employer thief servivers benefits deposit 1 3 of months one 56 dollars on first 3 710 of the month a change in SSI payments but never a deposit for servivers benefits on them ofonth and I surance for Humana has went berserved had to opt out of well care for no help benefits snap

  7. Dee B.

    Is there a maximum age to use an Able account? If you disability started before 46 and your now over 50, 55, 60, etc. can you start an ABLE account.

    • Carolyn R.

      Currently, you must have become disabled by age 26 or younger to start an ABLE account. In 2026, you will be able to start an ABLE account if you became disabled at age 46 or younger. I hope you enjoy the dignity associated with owning an ABLE account. I love my ABLE account.

      • Maria M.

        Maria M,
        Hello there, you seem to be happy with the administration. I presently receive ssdi and the onset was about age 25-26. What can an ABLE account do for me? I am truly not able to work; not even light duty but can use some money for better quality of life. Thank you

        • Angie R.

          Maria, My situation is almost identical to yours and I was wondering if you recieved any replies to this post? I would love to learn a skill and maybe give working a try its been a long time Id like to give it a go but I am scared to death they will start digging in my case and reassessing me. I have 3 teenagers and I dont get enough to live on as it is I cant afford to lose it too.

    • Sue

      Hi, Dee. Thanks for reading our blog and for your question. Social Security is not affiliated with and does not endorse any ABLE account provider or its services. To learn more about ABLE accounts, please visit the IRS website. For information about how we treat ABLE accounts, read our SSI Spotlight. We hope this is helpful.

  8. ROY J.

    I have both knees and hips replacement and relief insight. The age of 46 is of no help to me.

    Do you have an answer?

    • Sue

      We’re sorry to hear about your situation, Roy. We pay disability benefits to people who have medical conditions that prevent them from working or are expected to prevent them from working for at least 1 year or to result in their death. You may find our listing of impairments useful. To learn more about our disability programs, check out our blog. If you believe you may be eligible and would like to apply for disability, the most convenient way is to use our online application. If you prefer to schedule an appointment, call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. We hope this helps.

  9. Alliston G.

    Its better than throwing money at a [narcotics problem]. As far as I have seen? Drug addicts only care about their next high. That creates an even bigger problem when they procreate. Fortunately, the system has decided that there are enough vaccines, psychotropics, etcetera on the market to correct a ‘demic.
    Only #ProblemsOfWork? Ppl who lack ethics, etc and are–still–obtaining employment.
    Maybe, if they do not want to work they can go to some other country and declare themselves Monarchs. See how long that reign lasts. At least this government did not pay for the one way ticket away from this vast country: the United States of America.
    The Armed Forces has, already, decided not to be blamed for [suicidal-soldiers by removing the threats to National Security].
    [Do not assume you are/will be getting bi/by getting high].

    • A

      You must be high to make such ignorant claims.

    • Tony

      Yes you sound like a drug addict that just got robbed

    • Angie R.

      Honestly you have some serious issues and I think you need to talk to someone before you end up hurting other people or yourself. Oh and next time you should use Grammarly or spell check 😂

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