Learn more about the ABLE account and the programs that can help certain people with disabilities save money. In today’s blog post, find out which states have programs and what qualifications you need to open one of these special tax-advantaged savings programs.

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ABLE Programs Update

Mar 13, 2017

By Guest Blogger Chris Rodriguez, Senior Public Policy Advisor, National Disability Institute

About Ticket to Work

Social Security’s Ticket to Work program supports career development for people ages 18 through 64 who receive Social Security disability benefits (SSI or SSDI) and want to work.
The Ticket program is free and voluntary. It helps people with disabilities move toward financial independence and connects them with the services and support they need to succeed in the workforce.

Learn More

To learn more about the Ticket to Work program, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/work. You can also call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 866-968-7842 or 866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Ask a representative to send you a list of service providers or find providers on your own with the Ticket program Find Help tool.

In December 2016, we introduced you to the  Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act and shared how ABLE accounts can help you save money without affecting your Social Security benefits.

Since the law went into effect on December 19, 2014, any state can choose to open its own ABLE program. These state-run programs allow eligible people with disabilities and their families to set up tax-advantaged savings accounts for expenses related to disability. Federal public benefit programs such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid do not count the money saved in a person’s ABLE account when deciding if that person qualifies for benefits.

Qualifying for ABLE

The ABLE Act limits eligibility to people with significant disabilities who had the onset of their disability before they turned 26 years old. If you meet this age requirement and already receive SSI or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you are automatically eligible for an ABLE account. If you are not an SSI or SSDI recipient but meet the age requirement, you may still be eligible to open an ABLE account. To do so, you must meet Social Security’s definition and criteria for significant functional limitations and receive a letter of certification from a licensed physician.

ABLE States

Eighteen states now offer ABLE accounts to eligible people with disabilities. Many ABLE programs are similar, but each state may have different fees, investment choices and other features. Compare different states’ programs to consider which one might work best for you.

At least 10 more states are expected to launch their ABLE programs by the end of 2017. Even if your state decides not to have an ABLE program, you can apply for and open an ABLE account in another state’s program if that state allows non-residents to enroll. The Kentucky, Florida and Vermont ABLE programs are only open to people who live in those states.

States that now have plans include:

  •   Alabama
  •   Alaska
  •   Florida
  •   Illinois
  •   Iowa
  •   Kansas
  •   Kentucky
  •   Michigan
  •   Minnesota
  •   Nebraska
  •   Nevada
  •   North Carolina
  •   Ohio
  •   Oregon
  •   Rhode Island
  •   Tennessee
  •   Vermont
  •   Virginia

Additional Resources

To learn more about ABLE accounts, check out our ABLE events in March. Our March WISE webinar will focus on ABLE accounts and how ABLE and the Ticket to Work program can help you achieve financial independence. Register now and join us on Wednesday, March 22, at 3 p.m. ET. Then join us on March 24, at 12 p.m. ET, for a Twitter chat on ABLE accounts. Follow along on Twitter with #DEchat.

You can also visit the ABLE National Resource Center. You can learn the truth about ABLE Act myths and stay up to date on new programs being launched throughout the country. To learn more about ABLE programs and qualifications for an ABLE account, watch a video about Understanding ABLE. You can activate captioning by selecting “Subtitles/Closed Captioning” in the video toolbar.

Guest Blogger

Chris Rodriguez works on behalf of people with disabilities at the state and national levels. He earned a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of California, Berkeley and a master's degree in public affairs from the University of Texas, concentrating on Social and Economic Policy and Disability Studies.

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