The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014 had a huge positive impact on some people with disabilities. The legislation allowed them to work and save – without losing vital government benefits. Prior to the legislation, benefits such as Medicaid and SSDI were available only to individuals who had $2,000 or less in assets. That law forced many people to keep themselves impoverished.
Funds in an ABLE account are considered non-countable resources. Withdrawals from an ABLE account may be used for disability-qualified expenses such as job training, transportation, housing, etc. The individual with special needs is the owner and beneficiary, although parents and anyone else may contribute to the account. Each state operates its own ABLE program. There may be slightly different rules from state to state.
There have been two important recent changes to ABLE accounts:
Onset Age Increases Beginning in 2026
Until now, a person had to have developed the qualifying disability before the age of 26 in order to establish an ABLE account. Disability advocates have long urged Congress to increase the age. Now, it has. The recent ABLE Age Adjustment Act has raised the age to 46. The new age cap goes into effect in 2026. It is estimated that this will allow 6 million more individuals to participate in the program.
Contribution Limits Increase
The amount that can be contributed to an ABLE account annually is pegged to the federal gift tax exclusion. Effective January 1, 2023, that amount is $17,000. However, if the owner of an ABLE account is employed, he can contribute some of his/her own earnings in addition to the $17,000. This year, that additional amount is $13,590 for workers with disabilities (in the Lower 48).
For more information about ABLE accounts, check out our prior blog posts:
Read about Florida’s ABLE program: