Able Accounts are Changing Lives

ABLE accounts are a well-kept secret and have huge advantages for people with disabilities. Historically, anyone on government benefits with more than $2,000 in their name could lose all of their government support such as social security income and Medicaid! But with an ABLE account, these same folks have the ability to save up to $100,000 to plan and spend to better their own better lives. The Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE) was passed by Congress in 2014 and can be used to pay for any expense that is related to the account owner’s disability and includes education, housing, transportation, job training, and health-care expenses.

The dilemma is that although this account is a great option for families and individuals that qualify for this type of account, few are using it. The ABLE National Resource Center says 8 million people could qualify for an ABLE account. Yet, as of June, only 46,000 had one and the average account balance was only $5,656, according to data collected by Strategic Insight.

  • ABLE accounts are state-sponsored, tax-advantaged savings accounts
  • Individuals with disabilities can save up to $100,000 without losing critical government benefits.
  • Fewer than 1% of those eligible to own an ABLE account have one.

What happens after the death of a beneficiary?

In the event of the death of a beneficiary, the funds from their ABLE account can be used by his or her estate to repay any outstanding eligible expenses or funeral and burial costs. Remaining funds will be transferred to the estate of the beneficiary. Due to the passage of Oregon Senate Bill 1027 during the 2017 legislative session, Medicaid in Oregon is restricted from filing a claim for payback on funds that were previously in an ABLE account of a deceased beneficiary. Medicaid Payback is governed at the federal level and, our of an abundance of caution, it is suggested to assume funds could still be recovered by Medicaid.

If you or a family member qualifies for an ABLE account – please apply! This a valuable tool for individuals with disabilities to have a better life on their own terms!

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