ABLE NRC champions the vital role that people with disabilities play in a diverse and inclusive workforce. We celebrate the contributions and elevate the voices of working ABLE account owners throughout our activities and resources.
The March/April issue of our AchievABLE™ Newsletter contains stories on the following:
- ABLE Accounts and Financial Capability
- Fostering Kenley’s Financial Future: A Parent’s Perspective
- ABLE Upcoming Event: New York ABLE
- ACHIEVABLE Top 3 Questions
- ABLE National Resource Center “In the News”
- ABLE NRC’s Upcoming Webinars and New Webinars On-Demand
ABLE ACCOUNTS AND FINANCIAL CAPABILITY
April is National Financial Capability Month, which is the perfect time to highlight personal finance resources and ABLE accounts. Owning an ABLE account can be an important step on your pathway to financial wellness and can help you achieve a better life experience now, into retirement and beyond.
According to The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: “Financial capability is the capacity, based on knowledge, skills, and access, to manage financial resources effectively. Many Americans, including a large number of young people, currently experience low levels of financial capability, high levels of economic vulnerability, and barriers to building economic stability. Developing strong financial skills is important to young people, especially to disadvantaged youth who may have limited resources and access to financial education and services.”
Setting financial goals is an important first step to achieving a better quality of life and maximizing the benefits of being an ABLE account owner. Setting goals allows you to create a plan which may include employment and employment income, which can be saved in your ABLE account. The Ready and ABLE to Work and Save Decision Guide lists helpful employment guidance, including an introduction to work supports for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries and free benefits advisement.
In order to maximize contributions of any kind into your ABLE account to meet your financial goals, consider building a Circle of Support. A circle of support can help you manage your ABLE account and make smart financial decisions. One such decision is learning to monitor your ABLE statements to grow your independence. It is also important for young adults to begin to manage their own money and pay for their own expenses. In fact, at age 18, an SSI beneficiary who pays their fair share of rent may receive more SSI. We encourage all ABLE account owners (of all ages) to complete a monthly spending plan worksheet. This can help you add up your monthly expenses and all sources of income. A spending plan can help you see how much you need to cover your monthly expenses and set up saving and spending goals that are both realistic and goal oriented. For example, someone who needs $200 to make a purchase, and has $20 in disposable income, will need at least 10 months of savings to make their purchase.
It is never too late to start planning and saving for a better life experience with ABLE. A best practice is to deposit benefits into a checking account to pay for housing, food and monthly expenses. If you have money left over, you might choose to set up an automatic deposit for directly depositing a portion your employment income or other disposable checking account funds into your ABLE account. According to America Saves, “Saving automatically is the easiest and most effective way to save successfully.” And for those who have Representative Payees (RP), it is important to remember that developing money management skills may demonstrate an ability to manage your own money and benefits instead of relying on a Representative Payee.
ABLE ACCOUNTS AND FINANCIAL CAPABILITY
FOSTERING KENLEY’S FINANCIAL FUTURE: A PARENT’S PERSPECTIVE
We know that Kenley needs a certain level of financial acumen to manage her money. Mapping her money journey gives Kenley insights about how much money she can expect to earn in her desired career path, her expected expenses, the amount of money she is likely to have in her Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) account when she enters the workforce and her public benefits. We opened an ABLE account for Kenley as soon as it was available in Nevada. We chose it because, as an adult, it will give her financial agency—a sense of personal empowerment over her money. She can choose to use the funds in the ABLE account to support herself and enhance her life without jeopardizing her means-tested benefits.
When I talk to other parents of children with disabilities about ABLE accounts, they always ask, “Why haven’t I heard about this before?” Their second question is usually: “How do I set this up?” Our family is happy to share our story and knowledge of ABLE accounts because we are all stronger together. As part of this conversation, I also tell parents about the Secure Your Financial Future toolkit.
Read the rest of ABLE NRC Ambassador Jenny Casselman’s blog:
ABLE UPCOMING EVENT: NEW YORK ABLE
Join us on Thursday, May 11 from 2-3pm ET for ABLE NRC’s “ABLE Program Spotlight” featuring New York ABLE.
The NY ABLE Program is a tax-advantaged savings program for individuals with disabilities and their families to save for their current or long-term needs while maintaining their ability to benefit from federal benefits programs such as SSI, SSDI and Medicaid. Their program offers multiple investment options including a checking account and debit card option allowing individuals with disabilities to maintain their independence and have quick and easy access to their own money.
New York’s Achieving a Better Life Experience (NY ABLE) Program helps individuals with disabilities and their families:
• Save for disability-related expenses;
• Earn income on investments free from taxes when used for qualified disability expenses; and
• Maintain ability to benefit from Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid and other federal programs.
• Questions and answers
• Jenna McClosky, Outreach Coordinator/Administrative Analyst
• Miranda Kennedy, Director, ABLE National Resource Center; and
• Laurie Schaller, Manager, Financial Empowerment with National Disability Institute
• Marlene Ulisky, Manager, Financial Empowerment with National Disability Institute
ACHIEVABLE TOP 3 QUESTIONS
1. If a parent has an ABLE account, does that count as a resource if their child is under age 18, also has a disability and is applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?
It depends. If the parent receives a Social Security disability insurance benefit, their ABLE savings is not a countable resource for their child who is applying for SSI. There are no resource limits for someone who receives Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
If the parent receives SSI, the amount over $100,000 is countable as a resource for the child along with other non-ABLE resources owned by the child and by one or both parents. There are exceptions when the child lives with one parent versus two parents.
2. How can an ABLE account owner or agent with authority transfer the ABLE balance to the account owner’s eligible sibling?
A rollover or program-to-program transfer of funds may be made to an eligible sibling’s ABLE account once every 12 months. If the transaction occurs within 60 days of disbursement it is tax–free and is not includible in income. If the entire amount is transferred, the first account must be closed. The transfer or rollover must take place prior to death of the ABLE account owner. It is recommended that a person contact the two ABLE plans to coordinate an ABLE rollover or program to program transfer from one sibling to another.
3. My child has a disability and we opened and have been contributing to a 529 Qualified Tuition Plan (QTP), but now my child has decided that he may not want to attend college. How long do I have to decide if we want to rollover the funds into his ABLE account?
It depends. If you don’t use or plan to use the 529 College tuition plan (QTP) savings for eligible expenses, non-qualified withdrawals may incur a 10 percent penalty and be subject to income tax on the investment gains.
A 529 QTP rollover to an ABLE account may be done before January 1, 2026. There is no income taxation if the funds are deposited into the eligible ABLE account within 60 days. Each calendar year, up to $17,000 may be rolled over towards the maximum calendar year limit in an ABLE account, when combined with all other ABLE contributions.
Keep in mind, an ABLE account owner who works may be able to deposit more of their own income into their ABLE account if they have not had contributions made to a retirement plan within the calendar year. A QTP rollover to an ABLE account may take place at any time, as long as there has not been another rollover in the last 12 months.
ABLE NRC In the News
- National Association of Benefits and Work Incentive Specialists (NABWIS) includes the ABLE NRC as a reliable resource on ABLE accounts within “Dealing with Social Security and SSI Overpayments.” ABLE savings may be used to repay SSA overpayments.
- ABLE NRC Ambassador Edward Mitchell was named one of Money Magazine’s 2023 Change Makers for his advocacy on ABLE Age Adjustment Act.
- ABLE NRC and ABLE Ambassadors, Cheryl Walfall-Flagg and Tim Elliot were featured in the Insider article “How People with Disabilities Can Use an ABLE Account to Buy a House.”
- The Willing and ABLE Morning Brew article gave an overview of some ABLE basics for consumers new to ABLE accounts.
- The Insider article, 49 ABLE programs that help people with disabilities save and invest, sorted by state featured a comprehensive overview of all U.S. ABLE programs and an interview with ABLE NRC Ambassador Nathan Turner.
- ABLE NRC conducted a webinar on SSI and ABLE for Justice In Aging on March 8, 2023. Check out the ABLE and SSI Fact Sheet.
- Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation: Financial Empowerment and Inclusion: March 2023 consumer news blog included ABLE accounts as a savings and investment option for people with disabilities and points people to the ABLE NRC website to learn more about ABLE accounts.
- Guam ABLE accounts: ASC Trust has been selected as the plan administrator for the ABLE Savings Program. Call 671-477-2724 for more information.
- Pennsylvania’s PA ABLE posts the number of accounts opened and assets to date.
- Ascensus announced that more than $3 billion has now been gifted to 529 and ABLE savings accounts through the company’s Ugift® program. Ugift is a free service that enables family and friends to contribute to a beneficiary’s account. Gift givers are given a unique code for the beneficiary, which allows them to make contributions simply and securely. The code can be shared with friends and family most easily by sending a text message through Ascensus’ READYSAVE 529 mobile app and contributions can be made at any time, either electronically or by mail.
ABLE Account Data Update
December 2022 Quarterly 529 & ABLE Market Sizing Data from ISS Market Intelligence: 137,145 accounts have been opened with $1.253 billion in assets; the average ABLE savings is $9,136.
ABLE NRC Upcoming Webinars & Webinars on-Demand
- On Tuesday, March 21st, 2023, from 2pm – 3pm ET ABLE NRC hosted an ABLE Program Spotlight covering the features of STABLE Account and recent achievements of the program. View the STABLE Spotlight Webinar