7 Answers You Need About ABLE Accounts

A Better Life Experience (ABLE) accounts are new savings accounts for individuals with disabilities. If you would like to be able to save more than $2,000 for rainy days in your future, ABLE accounts are probably something you have considered. On March 22nd, Center for Independent Futures proudly hosted JJ Hanley from the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office for a presentation on the new ABLE accounts.

If you are worried you aren’t eligible for or have other concerns about ABLE accounts, read this blog to learn from Director of IL ABLE, JJ Hanley, about the ins and outs of these new savings accounts.

1. What is an ABLE account?

Scrabble pieces spell out "savings account," which is what ABLE accounts are.ABLE accounts are new savings accounts, specifically for individuals with disabilities. This is a way for you to save money without losing any of your SSI or SSDI benefits — or any other federal, means-tested benefits. States created ABLE accounts with the hope they would help individuals have the opportunity for independence and self-reliance.

2. Do I qualify for an ABLE account?

Now that you know what an ABLE account is, you are probably asking if an ABLE account is right for you. There are very few qualifications to meet for ABLE accounts. First, you must have a disability. Second, the age of onset of your disability must be before age 26.  However, that does not mean that you had to be diagnosed before age 26. If your disability started at age 15, but you weren’t diagnosed until age 32, you can still qualify for an ABLE savings account.

3. Who should open an ABLE account?

An ABLE account is right for you if you’re someone with a disability, and you want to be able to save more than $2,000 at a time. This is particularly true if you are working a job. You can save $15,000 a year in an ABLE account without affecting your SSI benefits, and you can save up to $100,000 within an account.

4. When can I use an ABLE account?

You might have many questions about when you can use savings from an ABLE account. The quick answer is: any living expenses related to a disability. But as these accounts are new, you may need to experiment to find out what limits exist, if any. One goal in creating ABLE accounts is to end the isolation within the community, so there is a lot of wiggle room in what counts as disability related.

5. What options do I have with ABLE accounts?

There are several options to choose from when you decide to open an ABLE account. You can either open a checking account or one of six risk-targeted investment options. It is important to discuss these options with someone you trust before making a decision.

6. How do I open an ABLE account?

You should not go to a bank and try to open one of these accounts because most people won’t know what you’re referring to. You can open an ABLE account online through the ABLE IL website or by calling the Illinois ABLE office.

7. Whose name is a debit card in with an Authorized Individual?

A gold piggy bank against a dark backgroundFinally, if there is an Authorized Individual included on the ABLE account, the agency issues the debit card in the Authorized Individual’s name. This means that if an individual is unable to make financial decisions on their own, a parent or legal guardian is able to make sure the money is spent when necessary.

At Center for Independent Futures, we would like to extend another big thank you to JJ Hanley for sharing this information with us. Now you can watch the full video from JJ Hanley’s presentation at Center for Independent Futures right here on our website.

Co-Hosting Free ABLE Presentation With No Boundaries

Do you receive SSI, SSDI, and/or Medicaid but would like to save and invest for the future?  If so, this FREE presentation is for you!No Boundaries LogoCenter for Independent Futures logo in green and purple

No Boundaries & Center for Independent Futures co-host:    

What You Need to Know About Achieving a Better Life Accounts – Illinois ABLE
Presented by JJ Hanley, Director IL ABLE for the Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs

Thursday, March 22, 2018 • 6:30 – 8:00 pm • Center for Independent Futures, 1015 Davis Street, Evanston, IL.

Seating is limited.  RSVP by Monday, March 19, 2018!

TOPICS will include:

  • Why ABLE?
  • What will ABLE do to my SSI, SSDI, and/or Medicaid?
  • What challenges are there to ABLE?
  • How do I open an IL ABLE account?
  • What’s going on with legislation in Illinois and Washington?
  • Who should attend:
  • Adult self-advocates
  • Parents/Guardians
  • Educators
  • Service Providers
  • Other Professionals

Center for Independent Futures is physically accessible and a short walk from the CTA and Metra stops. Metered street parking is available.

Questions?  Contact Tricia Luzadder at tluzadder@search-inc.org or 847-869-0000.

RSVP and Reserve your seat today!

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