In a recent post, we promised a follow up on Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) accounts. These savings accounts allow those with disabilities to better plan for future needs without affecting disability benefit eligibility.
As of our February update, it was still uncertain when Coloradans would be able to open these accounts. Now a Colorado program is available! Basic eligibility requirements are a disability that entitles you to SSI, SSDI or is a similarly severe disability. It must have started before age 26.
What is the benefit?
In the past, assets of as little as $2,000 could result in denial of SSI, Medicaid or other needed public assistance. These new accounts will allow people with disabilities the same opportunities to save for their future. They are another way to help promote independence as well.
Similar to 529 college education savings accounts, ABLE accounts have some tax advantages. For example, dividends or interest earned on an investment would not be considered taxable federal income if spent on qualified expenses, including training programs, personal support services or health care that would improve quality of life.
How much can you contribute?
You can only have one ABLE account. If you took out an ABLE account in another state before Colorado started its program, you can roll it over into a Colorado-based account.
You or family members can add up $14,000 in a calendar year – this can be set up through recurring monthly debits. The balance in an ABLE account cannot exceed $400,000. Be aware that amount over $100,000 could affect SSI benefits, but not Medicaid.
Where can you get more information?
Colorado ABLE has a website that you can visit here with more details and a portal to enroll.
If you have an existing estate plan that includes a special needs trust for a disabled loved one, follow up with an estate planning attorney to find out how this new tool fits in.