New way to save
For years, individuals with disabilities had few options to save money without fear of losing their benefits. That all changed last June when Ohio became the first in the nation to launch STABLE Accounts.
STABLE Accounts are made possible by the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014 – a federal law that allows families and individuals with disabilities to save and invest money without losing eligibility for certain public benefits such as Medicaid, SSI, or SSDI.
“Our system has been set up to keep people in poverty for years so, to me, this is the game-changer,” says Doug Jackson, deputy director at the Ohio Treasurer’s Office. “This is the Americans with Disability Act of today. It’s huge. It’s empowering.”
Prior to STABLE, people receiving public benefits had a $2,000 resource limit.
Jackson told a local gathering in February that money saved in STABLE Accounts is much easier to access than funds that are put in a special needs trust. You can deposit up to $14,000 annually in a STABLE Account with a lifetime limit of $426,000. It even includes an e-gifting feature where anyone can make a tax-deductible contribution to the account.
In fact, an Ohio taxpayer can take a state income tax deduction of up to $2,000 per STABLE Account with unlimited carry forward if you invest more than that amount in one year.
STABLE Accounts offer two different tax-free investment options – one that’s similar to a regular savings account and another that involves investments in mutual funds.
Jackson says money in these accounts can be spent on ‘qualified disability expenses,” such as housing, rent, basic living expenses, medical expenses, transportation, education, and assistive technology. It cannot be used for things like alcohol and gambling. If you do spend money on something that doesn’t quality, you will have to pay taxes on a portion of the funds.
It takes only about 20 minutes online to open a STABLE Account, and you don’t need an attorney. Individuals, parents, guardians, and those with power of attorney can sign up. It does require an initial $50 deposit, and there is a monthly $2.50 fee or $30 annually. You will also receive a STABLE card, which is a loadable debit card that can be used anywhere MasterCard is accepted.
For more information or to start your STABLE Account, go to www.stableaccount.com. For more information, call 1-800-439-1653.« Back to Stories