ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) accounts give people with special needs the opportunity to manage a modest bank account without penalty against their eligibility for SSI, Medicaid, or other government benefits. Generally speaking, SSI and Medicaid recipients must adhere to income and asset limitations. However, money contributed to an ABLE account is generally disregarded when determining eligibility for federal benefit programs, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid.
To be eligible to open an ABLE account, an individual must meet the following three criteria:
1. State Residency: The individual with a disability must be a Florida resident at the time of application.
2. Qualifying Disability: The individual with a disability must meet one of the following criteria:
- Entitled to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits;
- Entitled to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits;
- Certify that the individual is blind or has a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that results in marked and severe functional limitations and that: (i) can be expected to result in death; or (ii) has lasted, or can be expected to last, for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.
3. Disability Onset: The individual with a disability must be blind or have a disability which occurred before the individual’s 26th birthday.
ABLE account funds can be used to pay for expenses that otherwise would disqualify you from government benefits. The expenses are called Qualified Disability Expenses or “QDEs.” They include basic living expenses and are not limited to items for which there is a medical necessity or which solely benefit the individual. Some examples include expenses related to housing, education, health, transportation, legal fees, financial management, assistive technology or support, oversight and monitoring, funeral and burial, and many others.
If you want to see if you qualify for an ABLE account, please contact us.