Update on the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE)

miablelogo_op_512908_7In August, we posted about the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE). As highlighted by our post, the new ABLE accounts were not expected to be available for a year. Yet, on November 1st, the State of Michigan launched its the ABLE program and enrollment is now open.

The ABLE program allows families and individuals to fund a special savings account for certain people with disabilities for disability related expenses without losing eligibility under SSI, Medicaid, SNAP, and other public benefits. The ABLE account can be used for “qualified disability expenses,” which can include expenses for: education, housing, transportation, employment training and support, assistive technology and personal support services, health, prevention, and wellness, financial management and administrative services, legal fees, expenses for oversight and monitoring, funeral and burial expenses; and other expenses as approved by the Treasury Secretary.

However, ABLE accounts are not without drawbacks. Some of the drawback are annual contribution limits, and the beneficiary may have control over the account and there is a risk that the account will be used for something other than a qualified expense. Therefore, other instruments such as a special needs trust or a pooled trust, such as Elder Law of Michigan’s Pooled Account Trust, should be evaluated.

For more information on enrolling in ABLE, visit the State of Michigan’s site.

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