What is An ABLE Account?
“ABLE” is an acronym meaning “Achieving a Better Life Experience”.
ABLE accounts are savings accounts that people with disabilities can get. They are a way for us to save money, tax-free, above and beyond the $2,000 that we are allowed to keep in our bank account without being penalized by Social Security.
ABLE accounts make it easy for caregivers and guardians of people with intellectual disabilities to save, and they make Trying To Get Ahead a little more feasible for anyone who accesses disability benefits in any way, shape or form.
What Is An ABLE Account?
Sorry, that video was pretty boring, wasn’t it?!
I was looking for one that was a little more snappy, in which people with disabilities were explaining what ABLE accounts were all about (- video in ASL, preferable!). But alas, no.
Anyway, if you did not have a grasp of what it’s all about, then that video hopefully clarified some things.
The Accounts are National
ABLE accounts are set up and linked to your bank account.
They can be anywhere.
You can be living in Virginia and set up your ABLE account in Maryland (or Oregon!; you could be living in Kansas and like the system in Virginia a little better.
The point is, the ABLE system is like an umbrella, and each state sets it up a little differently.
You can sign up for ANY state (to my knowledge), but you really want to explore what each state offers, and what makes sense for YOU and your financial goals.
We Initially Set it up with ABLE-now
ABLE-now is in Virginia.
When we first set up the accounts, we were still living in California. California did not have ABLE accounts yet, so I went and signed up with ABLE-now in Virginia.
After we moved to Hawaii. nothing needed to be changed.
But then, I wanted to change aspects of my ABLE-now account, and I had SUCH a hard time accessing service. With the time difference, there was always only a very narrow window of time in which I could reach a live person.
Added to that, they rarely returned my calls in a timely manner (if at all). Then, each time I talked to a live person, my questions were not answered!
I was SO FRUSTRATED with them.
So I went to the ABLE National Resource Center
ABLE National Resource Center
These are the guys that you really, REALLY want to bookmark: ABLE National Resource Center.
They neutrally collect all of the resources related to ABLE accounts.
They are not trying to sell you anything or get you to go with one particular state system or another.
This was really helpful for me, because I went to their chart that compares the ABLE accounts that had debit cards (- an important feature to me) and could easily compare ABLE account systems per state.
A few things to remember:
- ABLE accounts are really, really different per state: you should compare states to see which state is offering what fits your needs and financial goals the best
- ABLE accounts are savings programs, yes, but the companies who administer them are making a buck with us; make sure you don’t see this as a charity or something! There is a reason ABLE-now is advertising like crazy on Facebook: because they are making a lot of money with our community!
I Switched to Pennsylvania ABLE
This is not an endorsement of any kind – not a sponsored post, not something they asked me to tout or say – but I switched to Pennsylvania ABLE (the information on Penn-ABLE from the ABLE Resource Center is linked here; the Pennsylvania ABLE Program is linked here).
I did so because that particular ABLE program does not charge for their debit cards, you can save over $500,000 in their program, you can split up how you want your money managed (- so, some in checking for immediate use, some for long-term growth, and some for shorter-term growth).
I also really liked their streamlined processes, not least that they make it really easy to access a U-Gift code.
U-Gift is a code where friends and family can give to someone who holds an ABLE account.
U-Gift makes plumping up an ABLE account painless, an easy way for friends and family to support someone with an ABLE account, or to give a practical, long-term investment.
If you have an ABLE-now account, or any ABLE account, for that matter and you are happy, that’s awesome. Don’t forget to go back to the Resource Center occasionally to see what’s new, and to take a look at other programs to make sure you are putting your money in the best possible place for yourself or your child.
- IRS: From the IRS, a video on how you can save money with disability-related expenses by having an ABLE account
- ABLE National Resource Center: compare programs, determine eligibility, get all the news and clear, concise answers to your questions
- Another super-boring but helpful video from the ABLE National Resource Center on qualifying disability-related expenses (which is a question I hear a lot from other parents) (and as an aside to anyone from ABLE NRC: you guys should hire Rooted in Rights if you can to help you with your videos!!)
Want to Contribute to Moxie or My Own ABLE Accounts?!!
Here’s our linked U-Gift Codes!