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Get to know ABLE accounts

ABLE accounts can be a great way to get ahead financially without jeopardizing benefits! An ABLE account is a tax-free savings account that can be built up by both funds from an individual and their family. The funds in an ABLE account do not impact SSI benefits and do not impact Medical Assistance eligibility. 

I'm ABLE to pay my rent.
I'm ABLE to plan.
I'm ABLE to choose.

Here's how it work for Jeremy:

  • Jeremy gets $914 of SSI each month. He doesn't work, so that's the only money he has, to pay for the things he needs.
  • He lives in a group home and wants to move to his own place.
  • He needs 24-hour assistance, so he needs a place with two bedrooms - one for him and one for his caregiver.
  • The lowest cost two-bedroom apartment he can find in the area where he needs to live is $1,200 a month. That's $286 more than his SSI!
  • Jeremy's mom set up a Special Needs trust for him when he was twelve, so he could have money when he was living on his own.
  • If Jeremy uses the money from his Special Needs Trust to pay his rent on a regular basis, it would count as income. His SSI would go down and the money in the trust would quickly be used up.
  • When Jeremy's mom learned about ABLE accounts, she decided to help him set one up. They didn't really understand ABLE account, or what the difference between the ABLE account and the Special Needs Trust, but they thought it would be good to have one just in case it would be useful in the future.
  • Jeremy's mom and grandma both make regular contributions to the ABLE account. Between the two of them, they put around $400 a month in his account.
  • Jeremy can use the funds from his ABLE account to pay his rent. The money he takes out of the ABLE account is not counted for SSI, so he can keep his full SSI check!

Find out more details about ABLE accounts at the Social Security's Ticket to Work blog. Read about money management and saving options from the Hub.

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