Man with a disability using a tablet computer

5 things you should know about ABLE accounts

In June of 2016, the first states began to offer ABLE accounts, a new type of tax-advantaged savings account for Americans with significant disabilities.

Promo image that displays "5 things you should know about ABLE accounts" in front of a background of three men with disabilities working on a craft projectABLE Accounts were created by the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014 so that Americans with disabilities and their families can build savings. Contributions of post-taxed dollars can be made by anyone including the beneficiary, family, and friends. While the contributions are not tax deductible, withdrawals and investment income earned from ABLE accounts will not be taxed.

If you are considering an ABLE account for yourself or a loved one, here are five things you should know:

1. You can open an ABLE account, no matter where you live

Similar to 529 higher education savings plans, ABLE accounts are operated by individual states. At least 35 states are in the process of planning and implementing programs, but it is likely some states will choose not to create ABLE programs. ABLE accounts are now available in Florida, Nebraska, Ohio, and Tennessee.

Luckily, some states, but not all, will allow ABLE accounts to opened by non-residents. Details of the ABLE programs will vary state to state, including fees and investment options, so this allows families to choose the account that works best for them. 

Currently, Nebraska, Ohio, and Tennessee offer nationwide enrollment. There may, however, be some additional costs for out-of-state accounts. Ohio, for example, charges double its usual monthly fee ($2.50) to residents of other states.

2. Anyone can contribute to an ABLE account, but there are financial limits

Contributions to ABLE accounts can be made by anyone including the beneficiary, family, friends, neighbors, etc. There is, however, an annual limit of $14,000 for each individual contributor.

The total limit of contributions to an ABLE account will vary by state, and many have indicated it will be over $300,000. But for recipients of Supplemental Security Income, there are some limitations. Continue reading to learn more about benefit eligibility. 

3. ABLE accounts will not impact your eligibility for benefits

One of the primary purposes of ABLE accounts is so individuals with disabilities and their families can build savings without losing eligibility for critical benefits such as healthcare. Many public programs have asset limits of $2,000, which can force individuals with disabilities to sacrifice income and savings.

ABLE accounts provide an opportunity to build savings while remaining eligible for programs like Supplemental Security Income (SSI). ABLE accounts will not have an impact on Medicaid edibility, and the first $100,000 saved in ABLE accounts is exempt from SSI income eligibility tests.  

4. ABLE account funds can be used for any expense related to living with a disability

ABLE account savings can be used tax-free to cover a broad definition of expenses related to living with a disability. This can include basic living expenses, education, assistive technology, hiring personal care attendants, accessible housing, healthcare costs, transportation, and much more.

5. Not all Americans with a disability are eligible for ABLE accounts

ABLE account eligibility is limited to individuals with significant disabilities that began before 26 years of age. People meeting that criteria who also receive SSI or disability benefits are automatically eligible. Others will require certification from a doctor.

Learn more about ABLE accounts from the ABLE National Resource Center, managed by the National Disability Institute.


Need motivation to save? Let America Saves help you reach your savings and debt reduction goals. It all starts when you make a commitment to yourself to save. Take the first step today and take the America Saves pledge to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth over time. And it doesn’t stop there. America Saves will keep you motivated with information, advice, tips, and reminders to help you reach your savings goal. Think of us as your own personal support system.

Take the pledge.


5 things you should know about ABLE accounts >> http://bit.ly/29xKYj7 v/ @AmericaSaves #savings #able
Tweet this now buttonTweet this now

Take the Pledge

I pledge to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth over time. I will encourage my family and friends to do the same

Take the America Saves Pledge

Tip of the Day

  • Written by Administrator2 | January 7, 2014

    Second saving strategy: Save for emergencies http://ow.ly/sj3vP

Saver Tips and Stories View all »

Transforming “I Can’t Save” to “I Will Save”

Written by Guest Blogger | January 13, 2016

You will not believe what it took to completely change my life. About three years ago, the HR Administrator of the corporation where I worked (as a temp with no benefits) forwarded an email to me. Fifteen seconds. One small act of kindness. That's it - that's all it took!

Read more...

Starting and Continuing a Personal Finance Journey

Written by Sara Cooper | December 23, 2013

When Kiara Hardin, now a junior at Western Illinois University, became an intern with the Chicago Summer Business Institute during her sophomore year of high school, she began her personal finance journey. The program required participants to open a savings account.

Read more...

Don’t Laugh at Saving Spare Change

Written by | May 7, 2019

Virginia Saves saver, Brittany, decided to start saving again when she became a single mother. She thinks many women, and men, can relate. According to Brittany, “You work out a financial plan with a significant other, you get married and/or have children, you live together and pay bills. However, for one reason or another, life throws you a curve ball and changes the whole scenario. It is so important for a single person, especially a single parent, to have control over their own finances. We have to learn to use what we currently have, and make our paycheck last, to ensure our children and ourselves, are healthy and in a good place. America Saves emails have served as that voice, whispering to me, "It's okay! Day by day, you CAN save and you CAN take care of yourself and your children.”

Brittany’s #1 savings tip: Don't laugh at saving spare change, or an extra dollar from a paycheck. These small efforts are like all of the streams into a sea of water.

Receive Updates

Sign up for Texts

Written by Tammy G. Bruzon | July 15, 2014

Sign Up

Sign up for Emails

Written by Super User | September 16, 2013

Get Emails

Take the Pledge

Written by Super User | September 16, 2013

Start Saving