An ABLE saving account may be helpful in some situations after a car accident. Many times in my practice, I have represented minors who are injured in a car accident. Some of these minors were eligible for and receiving Social Security Income benefits or Medicaid before the car accident. In normal situations, if a recovery over $2,000 is made on behalf of the minor’s injuries, they could lose their SSI or Medicaid benefits. However, an ABLE account may help plan for emergencies while still receiving SSD and Medicaid benefits.
Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, a federal law enacted in December 2014, authorizes each state to establish a program that offers tax-free savings and investment options to encourage individuals with a disability and their families to save private funds to support health, independence, and quality of life. The Florida legislature passed the Florida Achieving a Better Life Experience Act, which was signed into law on May 21, 2015. This state law establishes ABLE United to oversee the state of Florida’s qualified ABLE program.
This program allows a disabled person to save up to $15,000.00 per year. These savings is generally disregarded when determining eligibility for federal benefit programs, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. This ABLE account can grow until it reaches $100,000.
Requirements for ABLE Account
To be entitled to the benefits of an ABLE account, the individual with a disability must meet one of the following criteria:
- Entitled to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits;
- Entitled to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits;
- Have a condition listed in the “List of Compassionate Allowances Conditions” maintained by the Social Security Administration;
- Certify that the individual is blind within the meaning of Section 1614(a)(2) of the Social Security Act; OR
- Certify that the individual has a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that results in marked and severe functional limitations and that: (i) can be expected to result in death; or (ii) has lasted, or can be expected to last, for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.
However, it is important to note that the account holder’s disability must have occurred before the individual’s 26th birthday.
Withdrawals from an ABLE Account
Withdrawals from the ABLE account can be used only for “qualified disability-related expenses (QDE).” These include the following:
a. Health care, including assistive technology and personal support services (such as home health aides)
d. Employment training
e. Education expenses
f. Financial management, and
g. Basic living expenses.
Any withdrawals from the ABLE account for the calendar year that are not Qualified Disability Expenses may be subject to income tax plus an additional 10% penalty.
For more information on ABLE accounts, you can visit ableunited.com.
Attorneys Matthew Noyes and Lorrie Robinson help those – young and old — who are impacted by a Tampa Bay car accident. Attorney Matthew Noyes even wrote a book on it – Do You Really Need An Attorney After a Car Accident?. If you have questions after a car accident, call Personal Injury Attorney Matthew Noyes at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.