Many people with disabilities have been frustrated by restrictions on the amount of money they can save and still qualify for Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid. Many people who can handle their own money have also been frustrated by the need for virtually 100% of any inheritance or personal injury settlement or gift to go not to them directly but to a special needs trust.
Now there is an alternative.
People who become disabled before age 26 (there is a bill in Congress to raise this to age 46) can open an ABLE Account. Total annual contributions to that account can be up to $14,000. The total held at any one time can be up to $100,000. The lifetime total is equal to the lifetime total which can be contributed to a college savings account in the state in which the account is established.
Texas’ ABLE accounts are not yet up and running. Texans can use Ohio ABLE accounts https://www.stableaccount.com.
Special Needs Trusts will still be useful for many people.
Supplementing them with an ABLE Account can promote independence.
Terry Garrett is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is active in the Texas and Austin Bar Associations. She graduated with honors from Cornell University. She was on the Dean’s List at Wharton Business School. She earned her J.D. at Columbia Law School, receiving the Parker Award and a Mellon Fellowship.
She assists families of people with special needs, people planning for the retirement years and people administering estates.