In 2014, congress authorized a new savings option for people with disabilities. These new savings options, called ABLE accounts, began rolling out in 2016 and are already making a positive impact for account holders. Prior to the authorization of ABLE accounts, individuals with disabilities could not save money without the risk of losing their benefits such as Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid. Additionally, before the introduction of ABLE accounts, Special Needs Trusts were the only option for the families of individuals with disabilities to save money on their behalf without putting benefits at risk. Although ABLE accounts are typically cheaper and easier to use than special needs trusts, there are drawbacks.

To qualify for an ABLE account the individual must have sustained their disability prior to the age of 26. There is also a cap on contributions, with the maximum total contribution limited to $14,000 per year, and the account can only grow up to $100,00 without prompting benefit losses. Individuals who hold an ABLE account can use their funds to pay for living expenses, career training, and transportation among other things that improve quality of life. Despite some drawbacks, ABLE accounts are filling a clear need in the disabled community. Individuals looking to open an account can research plans and sign up online. Many plans qualify for tax breaks on contributions, however these incentives vary from state to state.


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