In June 2015, Governor Nixon signed the ABLE Act into law in Missouri. ABLE, the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act, will provide a new means for disabled citizens to work and save money without losing eligibility for government benefits. Soon, Missouri residents who were rendered disabled prior to turning 26 years old will be able to establish an ABLE account. Currently, banks and financial institutions are working on how to create those accounts and make them available to those who qualify.
An ABLE account will allow the disabled person to save up to $100,000 in an account without disqualifying that individual for SSI. After $100,000, SSI benefits will be suspended until the account is depleted to less than $100,000. Further, the account allows the disabled person to maintain eligibility for Missouri HealthNet (Medicaid) and other benefits. Additionally, the account is a tax-exempt asset. Contributions to the account may not exceed $14,000 per year.
The disabled person and their family members may use the ABLE account to pay for “qualified disability expenses,” which include any expense related to the designated beneficiary as a result of living a life with disabilities, such as education, housing, transportation, employment training and support, assistive technology, personal support services, health care expenses, financial management and administrative services. As the Treasury Department writes the regulations pertaining to these accounts, additional expenditures may be allowed or prohibited. Stay tuned.