In December of 2014, the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act was signed into law. The Act provides a new tool to care for disabled loved ones, relieving stress for millions of families. Caregivers often spend sleepless nights worrying how they can ensure that the disabled person is cared for after the caregiver can no longer provide care. This concern is a huge burden for a family member or friend, in terms of both stress and expense.
The ABLE Act is a step toward solving this problem. Prior to the ABLE Act, caregivers had to constantly worry about how much money was in the disabled person’s name to maintain eligibility for public benefits. The new law allows for creation of an ABLE savings account for eligible disabled individuals without affecting their ability to receive public benefits. With these savings, caregivers will have the flexibility to provide items that the government cannot provide, but are just as necessary for the welfare of the individual, such as training and therapy programs, medical bills, and other necessities that can be a drain on families who care for disabled individuals.
Despite the fact eligibility for an ABLE account is somewhat limited, this law is a huge step in the right direction for disabled persons and the people who love and care for them. People whose disability develops before age 26 and who receive Social Security benefits (or meet certain Social Security criteria regarding their abilities) are eligible to establish an ABLE account. Up to $100,000 in any ABLE account is exempted from the public benefit resource limit. Each state will implement an ABLE program with individual states determining certain other requirements.
As estate planning attorneys, we have begun helping our client integrate an ABLE account into their estate plan. If you have a disabled loved one and questions about how to ensure that person is cared for as well without you as he or she is with you, please do not hesitate to contact us at (877) 912-3464. We want to help you sleep worry-free knowing how well your loved one will be cared for.