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ABLE Plans: Helping Families of Kids With Special Needs Save for the Future

Starting July 1, Florida families with children who have special needs will have another option available to help them save for the future costs of caring for their loved one. Florida’s ABLE United Program is one of four such plans nationwide. The ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Act) investment plan will allow families to save tax-free for future expenses, while maintaining government benefits such as Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid.

Who is eligible for a Florida ABLE United Program account?

1) A Florida resident with 2) a “qualifying disability” 3) the onset of which occurred prior to age 26.

“Qualifying disability” is defined by the plan as an individual who is “legally blind or has a medically determinable physical or mental impairment, which results in marked and severe functional limitations, and which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”

How does the Florida ABLE United Program work?

The ABLE investment account is owned by the individual with the disability; however, an authorized person may open and oversee the ABLE account. The authorized person may choose from one of seven investment options.

Up to $14,000 per year can be contributed without jeopardizing eligibility for government benefits. An eligible individual may have only one ABLE account.

If the account balance exceeds $100,000, Supplemental Security Income benefits will be suspended until some of the funds are drawn down. That limit, however, does not apply to Medicaid benefits.

The investment earnings on funds withdrawn to pay “qualified disability expenses,” as defined by federal law, are tax free. The definition of these expenses is broad and includes things like medicine, mobility equipment, and even living expenses.

Where to Find More Information?

More information about Florida’s ABLE United Program can be found at its website www.myablesavings.com.

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