Introducing: The ABLE Service Provider Toolkit
Information and resources that support financial stability is essential to meeting the needs of people with disabilities.
The ABLE National Resource Center (ABLE NRC) makes it easy for service providers, case managers and advocates to inform customers, colleagues and peers of ABLE accounts as a protected savings and investment option that does not impact federal benefits. Family, friends, pooled and special needs trusts may contribute to a person’s ABLE account without direct deposits counting as income. ABLE savings up to $100,000 is not counted towards resources for those who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Any amount of ABLE savings is not a countable resource for FAFSA, HUD, Medicaid, Medicare or SNAP. ABLE funds may be spent on qualified disability expenses, helping the ABLE account owner to pay for items such as food, housing and other additional and often significant expenses that are often associated with having a disability.
The following are strategies, tools and resources that are intended to introduce and explain basic information about ABLE accounts. These materials may be shared at the time of intake, during presentations, within service plan or integrated resource team meetings, within Individual Education Plans and Individual Employment Plans and when providing transitional services.
Let us help you help your customers and families save in an ABLE 529A tax-advantaged savings and/or investment account.
Service Providers – Things to Consider
We recognize that the term “service providers” includes many kinds of providers operating in a large variety of roles. Service providers may be working with government or non-government agencies, with employer groups, educators, financial service providers or any number of others. Below we have identified some ways service providers can use the resources and strategies in the ABLE Service Provider Toolkit to help individuals with disabilities and their families to take steps towards increasing their financial stability.
- Present the ABLE PPT information during live or remote orientations and training sessions to your new and existing customers and their families.
- Share the handouts about ABLE accounts in discussions and integrate ABLE accounts into individual service plan development. Doing so will strengthen the services you provide, and demonstrate your commitment to supporting financial independence for people with disabilities. ABLE accounts can serve as an anchor for the support your agency provides and help your customers’ on their road to achieving a higher level of success in life.
- Provide information and access to free benefit counseling resources to customers with disabilities along with information about ABLE accounts. This will help your customers learn about the Social Security Administration work supports that can help them to save regularly and invest in their ABLE account while retaining disability benefits through the use of their work supports.
- Integrate ABLE information and resources from the ABLE Service Provider Toolkit to fill in gaps in services and supports and to complement existing initiatives or programs such as:
- Newborn and Child Savings Programs
- High School / High Tech
- Transitional Youth Services
- College Training
- Apprenticeship and Certificate Training
- Individual Education Plan; Individual Employment Plan and Individual Learning Plan
- Career Pathways under the Disability Employment Initiative
- Vocational Rehabilitation Programs
- Employment and Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work Program
- Include ABLE as a mandatory discussion topic when referrals are made to vendors including employment service providers, to benefits counselors/Work Incentives Planning and Assistance grantees or transitional service providers.
- Advise customers of free tax preparation services and how refunds may be directly deposited into ABLE. ABLE account owners who work may save additional income in ABLE and may also qualify for tax credits including the Saver’s Credit.
- Educate parents or family who have already established a 529 college savings account that a 529 to 529A (ABLE) rollover may be an option for a child who may not have college in their future.
- Offer to provide ABLE NRC resources so that parents and families can begin to learn and build their knowledge around ABLE accounts.
- Incorporate ABLE information into the materials your organization shares with new and existing employees to support their financial wellness. For this step, we encourage you to utilize our ABLE Employer Toolkit.
What are the tools in the toolkit?
Information about ABLE accounts and a roadmap to opening an ABLE account – This flyer offers the basics on ABLE accounts.
ABLE Decision Guides – Our ABLE Decision Guide Series is designed as an aid to decision making as it relates to establishing and using an ABLE account.
ABLE to Work Fact Sheet – This handout provides additional information for ABLE accounts owner who work.
Five things you need to know about ABLE accounts (ASL video) – The ABLE National Resource Center is excited to release this video which explains key provisions related to the ABLE Act and ABLE account in ASL (American Sign Language).
Helping Your Customers Choose the Right ABLE Plan – A two-page guide to comparison tools.
Sample Disability Certification for Eligibility to Open an ABLE (529A) Account – Who may sign and ABLE eligibility criteria.
Webinar Slides –
- ABLE Accounts: A Primer to Educate Service Providers: Information in this presentation is based on guidance and statistics for the year 2020.
- ABLE Accounts: A Primer for Service Provider Customers: Information in this presentation is based on guidance and statistics for the year 2020.
ABLE and the Student Earned Income Exclusion Work Support for Transition Age Youth Fact Sheet – Three-page fact sheet for students who receive SSI, attend school, work and are under age of 22.
The ABLE Case Summary Series – The six-part ABLE Case Summary series helps ABLE-related stakeholders, including current and future account holders, better understand the possibilities of an ABLE account complementing other strategies to improve health, independence and quality of life.
The ABLE account, Special Needs and Pooled Trust Comparison Chart – This chart provides basic information on three options for establishing protected savings accounts: ABLE accounts, Pooled Trusts and Special Needs Trusts (first and third party).
The Y-TAC SSI Youth Toolkit – The Vocational Rehabilitation Youth Technical Assistance Center (Y-TAC) Just-In-Time Toolkit covers not only facts about Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, but also information about developing assets through an ABLE account, Special Needs Trust or through other tools like using work incentives.
ABLE Podcasts – Listen to our ABLE to Save podcast series! Hear from leaders in the public and private sectors, as well as from ABLE account holders and their family members, about how ABLE accounts can be an effective savings tool to help improve health, independence, and quality of life for people with disabilities.