Improv for Special People
In America, it used to be that it was not enough to be disabled. You also had to be poor. If you were receiving government assistance, assets were capped at $2000.00 in order to retain benefits. This left people with disabilities without a critical financial safety net.
That all changed in 2014. The federal government enacted the Stephen Beck, Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience, or ABLE Act as it’s commonly known. This law authorized each of the states to establish a tax-free savings and investment program. The program encourages people with disabilities and their families to save money to support a better quality of life. Monies in an ABLE account are disregarded when determining eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid.
In Florida, this program is called ABLE United. (www.ableunited.com) ABLE United allows individuals with disabilities and their families to save money for future needs. It is not necessary to be receiving disability benefits to be eligible.
An individual is eligible to establish and fund an account if they are a Florida resident, with a documented disability that occurred prior to age 26. There is no age limit to have an account, but it must be established by an adult 18 years of age or older. Up to $100,000.00 dollars can be saved with no loss of benefits.
Anyone can gift an individual’s account. The maximum amount deposited to the account per year cannot exceed $15,000.00. And contributions are not allowed when the account balance is at or above $418,000.00, though the account can continue to earn interest.
There are several options available for investment. Maintenance fees are nominal, and if withdrawals are taken electronically there is no cost or penalty. Money can be withdrawn at any time, and earnings are tax free.
The money in an ABLE United account is owned solely by the individual the account was established for. No assistant or any other party, including those who donate, has any ownership interest.
The money in an ABLE United account must be used for a qualifying expense. Housing, transportation, and medical costs are some examples of qualifying expenses. See the website www.ableunited.com for a complete list.
Money in an ABLE account is transferrable to another qualifying individual much like a 529 plan. The recipient must be a sibling of the transferring individual. It is not transferrable to a sibling who does not meet the disability criteria. The transfer must occur prior to the death of the transferring individual.
In Florida, there is no minimum residency requirement, and if an individual moves out of Florida, they can keep and use the ABLE United account just as when they were a resident. Or, if desired, the ABLE United account may be transferred one time in a 12 month period without penalty.
ABLE United is a great vehicle for saving for the future needs of individuals with disabilities. Open an account today, and help secure the future of a loved one