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Why You Might Want or Need an ABLE Account?

At a Glance

In this post, we'll discuss why you might want or need an ABLE account. 

Whether or not to start an ABLE account is important to autistic self-advocates and family members alike.

We'll dive into some common reasons why autistics and their families decide to start an ABLE account.

Although ABLE accounts were introduced less than 10 years ago under the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014, it has already become a ubiquitous term in fields related to disability and autism, especially when it comes to adulthood. But figuring out whether an ABLE account is right for you or an autistic person in your life can be a bit more of a daunting process!

It is important we note at the beginning of this post that we are not financial advisors at AGU and none of the information we share below should be construed as financial advice. In sharing how ABLE accounts work and your options in trying to open one, we hope you will use your expertise on your own situation and the counsel of people you trust to decide what is best for you. 

Your options when it comes to an ABLE account can depend on where you live, your personal finances, and your personal support needs. 

Doing a deeper dive, checking out information in your community, or even hiring a financial advisor could be prudent depending on your situation. 

What are ABLE Accounts?

Build Savings Without Losing Benefits

One unfortunate reality of living with and receiving benefits for a legally recognized disability in the United States is that it can be difficult to accrue savings or seek out higher income opportunities without risking your eligibility for benefits like Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and Medicaid. 

One immediate and daunting challenge is that many of the services, supports, and medical interventions that a person might need are unlikely to be covered by disability benefits alone. How can a person raise the money to obtain the resources they need if doing so puts their benefits at risk?

In this context and for those who are eligible, ABLE accounts represent an important solution to the problem of funding necessary expenses related to a disability without jeopardizing SSI, SSDI, or Medicaid.

Helps With Future Disability-Related Expenses

For some autistic adults, an ABLE account may feel redundant, unnecessary, or overly restrictive. If you are not personally dependent on benefits or don’t rely heavily on paid supports, then the advantages associated with an ABLE account might not even be particularly applicable in your life. 

If that is the case for you, then ABLE might just be something to keep in your back pocket should it ever seem in the future like expenses related to any legally qualifying disability might start to add up. 

If you anticipate your spending increasing in the future, it may even be worth considering the possibility of investing some money now. 

Alternately, it’s the type of option that might suddenly seem more attractive if a person in your support network wishes to make a large financial contribution to help manage your future expenses. 

While it is not necessarily easy to anticipate exactly what your needs might be decades into the future, a tax-preferred savings and investment account is a great way to do so as long as you know you’ll be able to put that money to use!

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