Washington's ABLE Savings Accounts Explained in New Bulletin

pink piggy bank sitting with bank notes

by Andy Jones
June 11, 2017

A new savings option that goes into effect in Washington State on July 1 will allow people with disabilities to save significantly more resources without jeopardizing their eligibility for Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid.

On May 25, Columbia Legal Services released a new bulletin explaining the new accounts, known as the ABLE accounts, after a bill known as the Achieving a Better Life Experience (“ABLE”) Act, passed by Congress in 2014. The bulletin also provides guidance on Special Needs Trusts, the other primary, already existing, vehicle for people with disabilities to save without jeopardizing their benefits eligibility.

ABLE Accounts are available for people with disabilities that started before they turned age 26.

While usually people can only own $2,000 in resources to remain SSI eligible, people with disabilities will be able to put up to $14,000 in ABLE accounts, up to a maximum of $100,000 overall.

These funds can be used for a variety of “certain qualified expenses: education, housing, transportation, health and wellness, employment training and support, personal support, and financial management and administrative support,” according to the bulletin.

Special needs accounts, contrarily, provide fewer restrictions, and must be managed by a “trustee,” who cannot be the account holder.

The four-page bulletin by Columbia Legal Services is available online [PDF].

See more information about ABLE accounts online at the ABLE National Resource Center, to read more about ABLE accounts.