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People getting SSI benefits can also open ABLE accounts

When Oklahomans are disabled, blind and over age 65, they can get Supplemental Security Income if they meet the other fundamental requirements. For those who are struggling financially and have met these basic criteria, it can be a relief to be approved for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Frequently, they will not consider other benefits available to them. This is a mistake that can keep them from saving money in accounts that will not affect their resource requirements and other needs to get SSI.

People who are disabled can have goals just like anyone else. Concerns about financing those goals and whether saving money will impact their SSI can hinder them. In that past, this was a major problem. Now that there is ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience Act), those who are disabled and getting SSI can save money. The law was passed in 2014. It lets families place as much as $15,000 annually into an ABLE account. The limit will be higher if the disabled individual works and does not have a retirement account or other program. There will be no tax on qualified withdrawals and the money is deposited after taxes.

The amount in the ABLE account can be as much as $100,000, and there will be no threat to getting government funds. The problem with ABLE accounts is not what it offers, but that so few people are even aware it exists. According to statistics, up to 8 million people can get an ABLE account, but a minor fraction — 46,000 — has taken advantage of the opportunity. Most who have an ABLE account have an average of slightly more than $5,600 in it.

There are eligibility requirements that should be known before opening an ABLE account. The disability must have been diagnosed prior to age 26 and the person should get the benefits or meet the requirements to get benefits. These funds can be for anything linked to the disability and their basic needs. The account can be opened by others including a parent or guardian. Since so many people do not know the details of an ABLE account, it is wise to have legal advice when considering it.

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