ABLE Account Decision Guide Series
Determining Whether Something is a Qualified Disability Expense (QDE)
Assistive Technology (AT) as a QDE
→If AT device likely available through public benefit programs: Look first for benefit program to fund item.
Speech generating device (SGD): as durable medical equipment (Medicaid, Medicare); to benefit from public school education (special education program); to support a vocational goal (state VR agency).
→If AT less likely available through public benefit programs: Strong case to use ABLE to fund item.
Medicaid and Medicare may not fund speech generating device (SGD) if it is a laptop or tablet that can be used for personal computing in addition to speech generation. Special education program may fund the tablet used as an SGD, but in most school districts the student will not own it and it stays with school when graduates.
An ABLE account may be used in to pay for an assistive technology loan. There are Alternative Financing Programs (AFP) that offer favorable lending terms and affordable interest rates that may save a borrower significant money in interest and fees; refinancing options may be available too. The AFP loans may also be a way for an ABLE account owner to develop or improve their credit. Assistive Technology includes computers, hearing and vision aids, laptops, smart home technology, home modification, vehicle modification, etc. Find a program near you: https://www.nationaldisabilityinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/AlternativeFinancingProgramListing.pdf.
Note: Our ABLE Decision Guide Series is designed as an aid to decision making as it relates to establishing and using an ABLE account. This document does not cover every possible issue related to the topic and is not a substitute to more in-depth analysis that may be required in some cases.