ABLE Act Online Dialogue

Background Information

The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act was signed into law December 19, 2014. As a result states are now allowed to establish ABLE programs that offer tax advantaged savings accounts, known as “ABLE accounts”, to qualified individuals with disabilities. The funds saved in an individual’s ABLE account are meant to be used for “qualified disability expenses”, including those expenses related to assisting the account owner (person with a disability) in securing and maintaining employment. Additionally, anyone can contribute into someone’s ABLE account, including family, friends, and the person with a disability themselves. Funds in an ABLE account, and disbursements for qualified disability related expenses, are not taken into consideration when determining eligibility for federally funded means tested benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid.

It is the aim of this dialogue to help potential ABLE account owners, their families, and those who provide them with various supports and services to better understand and create plans for how these accounts can be used to assist youth and adults with disabilities in securing and maintaining competitive integrated employment.

ABLE Account Resources

The ABLE Act Online Dialogue Topics

Topic #1: How can ABLE accounts be used to support Employment or Self-Employment/Entrepreneurship?
The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act creates new opportunities for many people with disabilities to save significant amounts of money for purposes of off-setting the costs of their disability related expenses, including expenses related to assisting them in pursuing and achieving competitive integrated employment or self-employment. Additionally, the funds saved in an ABLE account, and used for disability related expenses, will not jeopardize their means-tested federal benefits and other federal programs that take into account the individual’s assets. Please share your thoughts about the opportunities that could be available to you or others if you did not have to worry about saving too much money either as a result of being employed, owning your own business, or otherwise. Additionally, please share employment related expenses that you might consider using ABLE funds to pay for that would help you pursue, achieve, and/or maintain competitive integrated employment. Finally, what are the best ways to keep people with disabilities, families and other supporters up-to-date on what’s happening with ABLE accounts and the opportunities these accounts create?

Topic #2: How can ABLE accounts be used to increase economic empowerment and financial self-sufficiency?
ABLE accounts enable people with disabilities to accumulate savings from their own earnings and/or through contributions from others so that they can save for the future and have access to funds for a wide variety of purposes. People with disabilities on public benefits have often struggled to plan for the future because their resources and saving have been limited by asset limits. Please let us know what opportunities ABLE accounts create by enabling people to accumulate substantial savings, plan for future expenses and access funds for current needs. Also, what are the best ways to keep people with disabilities, families and other supporters up-to-date on what’s happening with ABLE accounts and the opportunities these accounts create?

Participating in the ABLE Act Online Dialogue

As you submit your ideas or comment and vote on ideas submitted by others, for each of two dialogue topics, please keep the following guiding questions in mind:

You can VOTE on any of the ideas posted in the dialogue, you can COMMENT on any of the ideas, sharing your experience or asking questions about that idea, or you can ADD AN IDEA, by clicking on the SUBMIT NEW IDEA button in the top hand corner of the dialogue pages.

We look forward to your contributions and thank you in advance for joining us in this important effort.

For further instructions on how to participate in this online dialogue, visit How to Get Started.