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How Does an ABLE Account Work?

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Living with a disability comes with many challenges. One obstacle that many people often don’t consider is the added cost of living. ABLE accounts aim to help individuals with disabilities afford those extra costs and maintain financial stability.

Living with a disability and qualifying for SSI or Medicaid comes with many challenges. Many people find living off $2,000 a month or less makes it impossible to save for the future or maintain a reasonable quality of life. The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act was created to help with these obstacles by helping individuals save and pay for many living expenses.

What is an ABLE Account?

An ABLE account is a savings account specifically for individuals with disabilities. Money that is put into an ABLE account is not taxed. Each tax year, beneficiaries and their families can put up to $15,000 into the ABLE savings account. Also, working beneficiaries can add up to $12,740 of their earned income to the account each year. If the ABLE account reaches $100,000 at any given time, benefits will be put on hold until it is spent down.

Additionally, ABLE account savings are not considered when determining eligibility for supplemental security income (SSI), Medicaid, or other federal assistance programs.


To be eligible for an ABLE account, the individual must meet specific criteria. First, they must have been 26 years old or younger at the onset of their disability. However, you do not need to be 26 or younger to open an account.

You must also prove that the severity of your disability warrants opening an ABLE account. This can be done in two ways.

  • If you are already receiving SSI or SSDI
  • If you have a signed disability certification from a physician stating that your disability significantly limits your ability to function.

What Can The Savings Be Used For?

These accounts are specifically designed to promote independence and help individuals with disabilities continue a better life while remaining eligible for federal assistance programs. Because of this, ABLE account funds may only be utilized for certain qualified expenses.

This could be:

  • Basic living expenses
  • Health and wellness
  • Education
  • Transportation
  • Financial management
  • Assistive technology
  • Housing
  • Food
  • Legal fees

In the case that the beneficiary passes away, Medicaid has a claim against the remaining account balance up to the amount provided after the establishment of the ABLE account. Any leftover funds after the payment of the claim can go toward funeral and burial expenses.

For more information about ABLE accounts, click here.

Oregon Estate Planning Attorneys

ABLE accounts provide a great opportunity for financial growth and stability for individuals with qualifying disabilities. If you have more questions about ABLE accounts, believe you may qualify, or are ready to apply, Baxter Law, LLC can help. Give us a call today at (541) 238-9210 to get started.