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July 6, 2021

ABLE ACCOUNTS (Achieving a Better Life Experience )

Achieving a Better Life Experience, ABLE Accounts, can be an integral part of your special needs child’s financial life when considering savings for expenses while keeping their SSI (Supplemental Security Income), and MediCal/Medicaid benefits in place.

As special needs parents, one of our main concerns is the well being of our children.  No different from any other parent, but, I’m sure you would agree, that there can be, depending on the disability, a great number of added concerns and needs that we are challenged with on a daily basis. So, how can we know that we are doing the best for them now, and be preparing for their needs in the future, without adding more to our already full plate? That is where an ABLE Account can help.

ABLE Accounts were first introduced through the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2013. (S. 313/H.R.647)  On December 3, 2014, the ABLE Act passed in the House of Representatives, and then by the Senate on December 19, 2014.  Giving special needs adults more independence through the accessibility of funds to pay for their everyday expenses. Meaning; since they will be the beneficiary of the account, they will  have direct access to their own money to pay for their own needs.  There have been a few amendments to the original law over the past few years, but the changes have been minimal, and what we have in place today can give you and your child another tool towards independence.

What is an ABLE account?  Briefly, it is safe harbor for funds that would otherwise endanger your child’s benefits.  What do I mean by that?  Well, one of the biggest problems facing most on SSI and MediCal/Medicaid is going over the $2,000 threshold of assets. That is the amount of money the Government says you can not have more than before they come for your benefits.  Trust me, they will come!

So how can an ABLE account help prevent this from happening?  I’m glad you asked.  You can put that “dangerous” surplus of money, that you have accumulated in your bank account, into the ABLE account, and it is sheltered from being counted against you, to the tune of $15,000 per calendar year ( January-December) and $100,000 in total!  Anyone can contribute, the disabled child or adult is the beneficiary, and it is sheltered from taxes when taken out for QDE’s (Qualified Disability Expenses), and if it grows over time the taxes are deferred.

Some of the ways that an ABLE account can help foster independence in your special needs child/adult, is it gives them access to “their” own money so they can supplement their monthly expenses.  For example: money for transportation, medical co-pays, also prescriptions. This gives them a sense of personal freedom, that can only come from taking care of your own immediate financial needs.  Not having to ask for help can give anyone a feeling of personal satisfaction, especially a person with a disability who has had to rely on others most of their lives.  Being an included, and productive member of society is what we want for our children, and an ABLE account can be one of the tools to help get them there.

If you would like more information about ABLE accounts please email us at ConsultWithMark@yahoo.com

By Mark Solomon

Financial Guide for Special Needs Families

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