You Are ABLE

Most government benefit programs have strict qualifying guidelines for income and asset limits.  It’s easy to see how this could cause a person with a disability and their family to remain in poverty.

Two thousand dollars is the limit for most with assets.  Assets could include savings, property and cars.  If you cross that magic line, you are may put your benefits at risk.  How can you plan and save money to better your situation if you get penalized for good money habits?

New Ways to Save and Pay for Disability-Related Expenses

With new laws in Wisconsin and most states, there are now two opportunities that can help.  Special Needs Trusts and new ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) accounts could be what you need.  This is a brief explanation between the two, then begin with this resource on “Able Act vs. The Special Needs Trust: Which financial tool is right for your family” to learn more.

Special Needs Trusts

Generally, trust accounts work well if you receive an accident settlement or an inheritance.  (Remember that the limit for assets like this is only $2,000.)  Trusts usually involve an attorney to set up and a trustee to manage.

ABLE Accounts

You can open an ABLE account with little money and they offer many spending options.  The best news: money saved or gifted into the account isn’t counted toward that $2,000 limit! Money saved in a ABLE account can be used to pay for qualifying expenses such as health services, housing, transportation, education, and employment just to name a few.

Wisconsin chose not to offer our own ABLE accounts to residents, but don’t worry!  Other states offer accounts that any qualifying person can take part in.  Here is more ABLE information, and an interactive map to compare states.

Next Steps

Money issues are often a huge concern for people with disabilities and their families and it’s great to have the chance to share a solution.  Consider if a Special Needs Trust or an ABLE account might work for you.  An attorney or financial advisor helps with trusts; a Benefits Specialist, friend or relative can help research ABLE accounts.   Here’s your chance to make a secure life for you and your family!

#financialstability #saving

About the Author

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Kevin Smith

Kevin works as a benefits counselor at Employment Resources, Inc. He loves to help people understand their benefits and how to manage their household finances. Kevin has experience as a credit counselor and housing counselor and has volunteered as a tax preparer and holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Communications from Concordia University Wisconsin.
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