Step 2: Who is Eligible?

Man with daughter and service dog sitting on a bench. Man is raising his hand.

Understanding Eligibility

It is important to understand that not all individuals with disabilities will be eligible to open an ABLE account. The ABLE Act limits eligibility to individuals with significant disabilities with an age of onset of disability before turning 26 years of age. If you meet this age criterion and are also already receiving benefits under SSI and/or SSDI, you are automatically eligible to establish an ABLE account. If you are not a recipient of SSI and/or SSDI, but still meet the age of onset disability requirement, you could still be eligible to open an ABLE account if you meet Social Security’s definition and criteria regarding significant functional limitations and receive a letter of certification from a licensed physician (MD or DO). You do not have to be under the age of 26 to be eligible for an ABLE account. You can be over the age of 26, but the disabling condition must have occurred before your 26th birthday.

Topics at a Glance

Does Simply Having a Disability Qualify a Person to be Allowed to Open and ABLE Account?

No, not all people who have a disability are eligible to open an ABLE account. In fact, there are two requirements that must be met before a person can be allowed to be an ABLE account owner.

The ABLE Act limits eligibility to individuals with disabilities with an age of onset of disability before turning 26 years of age. If you meet this age criterion and are also already receiving benefits under SSI and/or SSDI, you are automatically eligible to establish an ABLE account. If you are not a recipient of SSI and/or SSDI, but still meet the age of onset disability requirement, you could still be eligible to open an ABLE account if you meet Social Security’s definition and criteria regarding functional limitations and receive a letter of certification from a licensed doctor of medicine or osteopathy, a doctor of dental surgery or dental medicine, and, for some purposes, a doctor of podiatric medicine, a doctor of optometry, or a chiropractor.

Can I Open an ABLE Account Even If I Am Older than 26?

You can be over the age of 26 when you open an ABLE account, but the disabling condition must have occurred before your 26th birthday.

Can I Open an ABLE Account Even If I Am Not Currently Receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?

If you are not a recipient of SSI and/or SSDI, but still meet the age of onset disability requirement, you could still be eligible to open an ABLE account if you meet Social Security’s definition and criteria regarding functional limitations and receive a letter of certification from a licensed doctor of medicine or osteopathy, a doctor of dental surgery or dental medicine, and, for some purposes, a doctor of podiatric medicine, a doctor of optometry, or a chiropractor. Please see Sample Disability Certification.

Additional Information

  1. An ABLE eligible individual is only allowed to have 1 ABLE account at any given time.
  2. If you meet the eligibility requirements, you can open an ABLE account at any age.
  3. You may be eligible to open an ABLE accound if you are not receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
  4. Not every individual with a disability is qualified to open an ABLE account. For more information, please see the Frequently Asked Questions / Eligibility.

Ready to move to step 3? How Can Funds Be Used? >>

Go back to the full Roadmap to Enrollment