child with down syndrome clapping next to his mom at a tableWhat is an ABLE Account?

ABLE accounts allow eligible[1] Wisconsin residents with disabilities to save money (or allow parents to save for their children) without changing eligibility for Medicaid (including programs like Family Care, IRIS, Katie Beckett) and SSI, or without reducing their monthly SSI payments. ABLE Accounts encourage people with disabilities to work and earn more to save their money for things they need!

In Wisconsin an eligible person with a disability (or someone who wants to offer a gift to an individual) can put up to $15,000 total in an ABLE account in one year (and more than $400,000 over time). Someone who is working and paying taxes may be able to contribute up to $12,060 more annually. A person’s federal SSI benefits eligibility will not change unless the ABLE account total goes over $100,000. ABLE account monies can be withdrawn at any time for “qualified disability expenses” that help the person’s health, independence, or quality of life. Examples of qualified ABLE expenses include saving money to go to school, take a class, buy a car, put a down payment on a house, pay for assistive technologies, personal care or transportation and more.

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How can we expand awareness about and access to ABLE in Wisconsin? 

In Wisconsin many people still do not know about ABLE or understand how it works. Wisconsin is one of just 9 states that does not operate an ABLE program. The Arc Wisconsin has been advocating for a Wisconsin ABLE program to help expand awareness and provide customer service to folks who want to open an account and have questions. Share these recommendations with your State Legislator to get a Wisconsin ABLE program established. Find your State Legislator’s contact information here.

 

[1] To be eligible for ABLE an individual must meet two requirements: must have become disabled before the age of 26; the disability must be “severe” enough, i.e. the person must qualify as having a disability through the Social Security Administration or receive a special disability certification from your doctor.