If you or a loved one are living with a disability, you may benefit from opening an Achieving Better Life (ABLE) Savings Account. This type of account is relatively new, and it is designed to give certain individuals living with disabilities the opportunity to have a savings account while remaining eligible for public benefits including SSI, SSDI, SNAP, and Medicaid. ABLE accounts are similar in concept to Section 529 College Savings Plans. The federal ABLE Act was passed in 2014, and many states have since adopted ABLE Savings Plans. South Carolina’s plan, SC ABLESM, is only open to South Carolina residents, but several other states’ plans are open to residents across the country. You can compare plans to determine which plan best fits your needs.
SC ABLESM is a tax-advantaged savings account with a total annual contribution limit of $15,000. If the beneficiary is employed, he or she is eligible to contribute up to an additional $12,060 per year. All contributions may be deducted from South Carolina individual income taxes. You can open an account with as little as $50, and there are no fees or restrictions to the number of disbursements you can take.
Using Your Funds
According to the ABLE National Resource Center website, ABLE funds can be used tax-free for any qualified disability expense including: “expenses related to education, housing, transportation, employment training and support, assistive technology, personal support services, health care expenses, financial management and administrative services and other expenses.” However, distributions which are not used for qualifying expenses are subject to income taxes and penalties.
Loadable Debit Card
Participants will receive a STABLE Loadable Debit Card at no extra cost. Because the STABLE debit card is loadable, you can designate an amount available to spend at any point. This helps protect your entire account balance against fraud in case your card is lost or stolen.
Monitoring Your Account
It is important that you monitor your account to track investment performance, recognize possible debit card fraud, and to ensure you continue to qualify for any necessary public benefits. According to the ABLE National Resource Center website, “only the first 100,000 dollars in the ABLE account is protected from the SSI asset limit.” Learn more about monitoring your account on the ABLE National Resource Center website.
Interested in Learning More?
Learn more about the program and find out if you or a loved one could be eligible for this benefit on the ABLE National Resource Center website. Before setting up an account, contact our office for additional resources and guidance to determine if you or your loved one is eligible.
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