ABLE Plans Launched for Rhode Islanders

What is an ABLE account?
ABLE Accounts are qualified savings accounts that receive preferred federal tax treatment, similar to, but distinct from, Section 529 college savings accounts.

An ABLE account enables eligible individuals to save for “qualified disabilities expenses” such as: education, housing, transportation, employment training and support, assistive technology, personal support services, health and wellness, legal fees, expenses for oversight and monitoring, funeral and burial expenses and basic living expenses, etc.

Purpose of an ABLE Account:
ABLE accounts allow individual choice and control over spending on qualified disability expenses and investment options while protecting eligibility for Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and other important federal benefits for people with disabilities.

Are There Limits on ABLE Accounts?
Annual limits on contributions: total contributions cannot exceed the current gift tax exclusion limit of $14,000.

Cumulative limits on contributions equal the limit for the State of Rhode Island’s Section 529 college savings program maximum aggregate limit of $395,000.

Special Rules for SSI Program:
When accounts reach over $100,000, the SSI cash benefit will be suspended, but eligibility will NOT be terminated. (You will not need to re-apply.) Medicaid is NOT affected by funds over $100,000.

There are other special rules for funds withdrawn for housing.

Specifics about RI’s ABLE Plan:
Rhode Island is part of a 12-state consortium called The ABLE Alliance. All states share common program elements and investment options. A partnership allows us to provide a tax-advantaged investment portfolio, at low cost to beneficiaries and with high quality investment options. States working together create economies of scale (a benefit to our State especially).

An individual with a diagnosis prior to the age of 26 is eligible to set up an account.

Right now, the only way to set up an account, with as little as $25, is by going online to:  savewithable.com/ri/home/plan-benefits.html

RI’s ABLE Plan hopes to have a paper process set up by the spring of 2017.

Thanks to Citizens With Power member Joseph Blanchard for his time on the Advisory Board!

Questions? Email Ann Telfer, Director of Public Relations and Development, The Arc: annsextontelfer@gmail.com