Disability, SSI

Celebrating the Fifth Anniversary of the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act

December 19, 2019 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: March 17, 2021

The National Association of State Treasurers created this guest blog 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 Association of State Treasurers or its services.

This month, marks the passage of the Stephen Beck, Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014, a law that aims to ease financial strains faced by individuals with disabilities.

How can ABLE Help?

ABLE accounts allow people with disabilities that began before age 26 to save and invest private funds without losing eligibility for essential federal government benefits programs, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, and housing benefits. Earnings and withdrawals on ABLE accounts are tax-free, if used for qualified disability-related expenses

ABLE accounts can help people with disabilities build financial wellness.  In the last five years, ABLE accounts have helped beneficiaries with disabilities achieve greater financial independence:

  • Since the program launched in 2016, people with disabilities and their families have saved more than $300 million to help cover disability-related expenses in ABLE plans offered by 42 states and the District of Columbia.
  • ABLE account savings are exempt from the SSI resource limit up to $100,000. When the balance exceeds that, SSI benefits are suspended until the account balance goes below $100,000.
  • ABLE account owners enjoy the convenience of checking account or debit card savings options to meet regular expenses and some owners save for a rainy day or invest for the future.

As Chairperson of the ABLE Committee of the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST), I lead a national effort to foster the growth of ABLE plans and increase access to ABLE accounts for more people with disabilities and their families.

As we celebrate this important milestone for ABLE, I invite you to learn more about the program by visiting the NAST website.




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About the Author

Michael Frerichs

Michael Frerichs is serving his second term as Treasurer of the State of Illinois and is Chair of the National Association of State Treasurers ABLE “Achieving a Better Life Experience” Committee. Under Treasurer Frerichs’ leadership, Illinois leads the National ABLE Alliance, a 17-member state consortium that represents approximately one-quarter of the ABLE-account eligible population nationwide.


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