In June, the Ohio Legislature unanimously passed a bill that implements the savings accounts authorized by the federal Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE) in the state. These accounts are a special kind of savings vehicle meant to help those who may be receiving benefits from programs such as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) to save money without losing their benefits due to asset limits.
The law allows disabled people to put up to $14,000 a year into an ABLE account, and such funds will not be counted against the asset limits that programs like SSDI have for people to qualify for benefits, as long as the account does not have over $100,000 in it. Such beneficiaries may also put a part of their wages into such accounts to decrease the likelihood of losing or not qualifying for benefits due to income restrictions.
The idea behind such accounts is to allow those who are disabled, or their families, to have enough savings that they can have a chance to live independently, without having to do so in poverty due to benefits qualification limits. A lobbyist for the law said that it will allow people like those with Down Syndrome to work, and get raises and promotions, without jeopardizing their eligibility for SSD benefits. Despite similarities to education savings accounts, in Ohio, deposits to ABLE accounts will not be treated as charitable donations.
People with disabilities should be allowed to live a full and satisfying life without worrying about the extra expenses that being disabled might bring. Laws like this allow those with disabilities to be more independent and realize more of their potential. Anyone with questions about qualifying for SSDI may want to consider contacting an experienced Ohio disability attorney.
Source: The Columbus Dispatch, “New federal law to help disabled bolster finances,” Jim Siegel, July 28, 2015