ABLE United
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FAQs

Have questions?
The answers below might be able to help.

General

How It Works

Benefits

Qualified Expenses

Eligibility

Opening an Account

Gifting

Tax Benefits

What is ABLE United?

ABLE United is the state of Florida’s ABLE Program and is administered by Florida ABLE, Inc., a direct-support organization of the Florida Prepaid College Board. ABLE United offers a unique program designed to help Floridians with eligible disabilities save for qualified expenses and invest for the future in a tax-advantaged account ‒ without losing federal or state benefits (like SSI, SSDI, Medicaid, SNAP, TANF, HUD Assistance, Section 8, etc.).

What is the ABLE Act?

The Stephen Beck Jr., Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, a federal law enacted in December 2014, authorizes each state to establish a program that offers tax-free savings and investment options to encourage individuals with a disability and their families to save private funds to support health, independence and quality of life. In July 2015, the State of Florida created Florida ABLE, Inc., to administer Florida’s ABLE Program, ABLE United.

Money contributed to an ABLE account is generally disregarded when determining eligibility for federal benefit programs, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid.

How is an ABLE Account different than a Third-Party Special Needs Trust?

Generally, ABLE Accounts do not replace a Third-Party Special Needs Trust (SNT), but rather work in conjunction with an SNT. An SNT can be used to fund an ABLE account, can encompass non-cash assets, requires an attorney to set up, and can be costly. ABLE Accounts are flexible, grow tax-free, and are low-cost to maintain.

For more information, visit our ABLE accounts and SNTs webinar.

Please consult a lawyer if you have additional questions.

Can money in an ABLE United Account be recovered in a bankruptcy?

No. ABLE United Accounts are protected from bankruptcy.

Can I make direct deposits into an ABLE United Account?

Yes, monthly transfers are a great way to help an ABLE United Account grow and reach your yearly goal. Direct deposits, also known as monthly transfers, are automatic contributions that you can set up in just a few steps directly from your Account. Look for the “Transfers” button once you’re signed in, and follow the instructions.

What type of bank accounts can I add?

You can connect a checking or savings account to your ABLE United Account. These types of accounts use Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments, which are a fast and efficient way to make electronic payments.

Can I use the same login information if I have multiple ABLE United Accounts?

Yes. If you’re an Authorized Legal Representative of more than one Beneficiary (or yourself and a Beneficiary), you will have one username (email) and password to log in to all of the ABLE United Accounts you manage.

If I manage multiple ABLE United Accounts, can I transfer funds from one Account to another?

No. You can’t transfer funds from one ABLE United Account to another ABLE United Account. You can roll over funds in an ABLE Account to a member of the family.

Do I have to file taxes on an ABLE United Account?

Each ABLE United Account is treated separately, and each will receive separate tax documents. Please consult your tax adviser for information about whether you need to file taxes for an ABLE United Account. At the end of each year, you will receive a 5498-QA showing contributions and the establishment of an ABLE Account. If a withdrawal was made from the ABLE United Account, you will receive a 1099-QA showing the earnings and basis of the distributions.

What happens after the death of a Beneficiary?

In the event of the death of a Beneficiary, the funds from their ABLE United Account can be used by his or her estate to repay any outstanding Qualified Disability Expenses, including funeral and burial costs. If a Beneficiary has passed away and the executor of his or her estate is not the Authorized Legal Representative, the executor may submit a death certificate and a certification that they are the executor and responsible for the proper disposition for the Account balance. The executor may complete a Death of Beneficiary Form (coming soon) in order to have the remaining balance sent to the Beneficiary’s estate.

Is there a Medicaid payback after a Beneficiary’s death?

Federal law requires that each state recover Medicaid expenditures from a Medicaid recipient’s estate. Federal law also allows for a state to recover Medicaid expenditures from an ABLE United Account.

Effective July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019, except as required by federal law, the Florida Medicaid program may not file a claim for Medicaid recovery of funds in an ABLE Account during this time period. Upon the death of a designated Beneficiary, funds in the ABLE Account must first be distributed for Qualified Disability Expenses then transferred to the estate of the designated Beneficiary.

For more information on Medicaid estate recovery, visit Florida’s Medicaid Estate Recovery Program here. If a Beneficiary has passed away, the executor of his or her estate should complete a Death of Beneficiary Form (coming soon).

Are contributions considered an asset?

Generally, money in an ABLE Account is not considered an asset for state and federal benefits purposes. However, for Beneficiaries receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you can only have up to $100,000 in the ABLE Account before the funds start to count against the $2,000 asset limit. 

Can someone else access my Account?

To keep the Account safe, don’t share your password or let someone else have access to your Account.

If you want to add, change or remove the Authorized Legal Representative for the Account, contact customer service Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET at 1-888-524-2253 or from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET at 1-844-888-2253 (TTY) for assistance.

Can I change how my money is allocated?

Yes. For new contributions, you may select which Investment Options to contribute to.

For money that is already in an ABLE United Account, the allocation of the Account balance may be modified up to two times per calendar year.

Can I change my investment option?

Yes, but under IRS requirements, you are only allowed to change your invested funds allocation two times each year. You can change how new contributions are allocated at any time.

Any changes to invested funds will be applied to prior contributions and earnings. If you do make a change to your investment option, we’ll sell your units in the original option and use the proceeds to buy units in the new one. You can make a change online from your Account or contact customer service for an Investment Option or Allocation Change Form.

Is there a minimum to open an ABLE United Account?

Your initial contribution must be at least $25. After that, you can add as little as $5 at any time.

Who can contribute to my ABLE United Account?

Friends, family, and organizations can make contributions to your Account to help you reach your savings goals. You can create and share a link to your Gifting Page or download the Gift Form (coming soon) to allow people to contribute directly to your ABLE United Account.

Are there any limits to how much I can contribute?

Annual Standard Contribution Limit

There’s a $15,000 yearly limit for standard contributions — this includes any gift contributions made to your ABLE United Account. Remember, there is a $5 contribution minimum.

ABLE to Work Contribution Limit

With ABLE to Work, if a Beneficiary is earning wages from employment, they can contribute an amount equal to the Beneficiary’s current year gross income up to $12,060 (as of 2018) each year, in addition to the yearly contribution limit of $15,000.

If the Beneficiary or their employer is contributing to a defined contribution plan (i.e., 401(k)), annuity plan (403(b)), or deferred compensation plan (457(b)) this calendar year, the Beneficiary is not eligible to make ABLE to Work contributions.

Maximum Balance

There is a maximum balance of $418,000 for each ABLE United Account. Once your Account reaches this limit, your Account may continue to earn money, but you will not be able to make any additional contributions until your balance dips below this limit.

Will having an ABLE United Account make me ineligible for Medicaid?

No. Having an ABLE United Account doesn’t count toward your eligibility for Medicaid regardless of the amount saved in the Account.

What happens if I withdraw money for a non-eligible expense?

If withdrawals from the ABLE Account for the calendar year exceed the Qualified Disability Expenses, the individual may be subject to income tax, plus an additional 10% penalty. Consult a tax professional for additional guidance.

A withdrawal used for a non-eligible expense could affect your eligibility for SSI benefits, Medicaid or other means-tested benefits under federal or state programs. A withdrawal that is applied to a housing expense in any month after the month of the withdrawal could impact SSI benefits. 

How do I prove an eligible expense?

Keep your receipts and documentation for all eligible expenses in case the IRS wants to see them or, if receiving SSI, the Social Security Administration. We don’t need proof of your expenses, but you should have it for your records.

If you sign up for an ABLE United Prepaid Card, you can review and manage your card activity from your online account. This will help keep track of your purchases, but you should still save your receipts.

Can I use funds in my ABLE United Account to pay for housing or rent?

Yes, you can use money from an ABLE United Account for housing expenses. If you’re receiving SSI, the money must be used within the month it was withdrawn so it does not affect your SSI eligibility. 

What is a Qualified Disability Expense?

If the money in an ABLE United Account is spent on one of the following Qualified Disability Expenses, as defined by federal law, the earnings on the money withdrawn are tax-free. Some of these expenses include: health, education, housing, transportation, legal fees, financial management, employment training and support, assistive technology and personal support services, oversight and monitoring, funeral and burial, and other expenses approved by the treasury regulations.

Qualified Disability Expenses include basic living expenses and are not limited to items for which there is a medical necessity or which solely benefit the Beneficiary.

As long as the expense relates to the Beneficiary and helps maintain or improve their health, independence or quality of life, it can be considered a Qualified Disability Expense. Please read the Program Description & Participation Agreement for more information on Qualified Disability Expenses.

If asked by the IRS or Social Security Administration, for those receiving SSI, the Beneficiary or Authorized Legal Representative is responsible for providing receipts for Qualified Disability Expenses.

How can I use the money in my ABLE United Account?

You can withdraw money from your ABLE United Account for any reason. If it is used for Qualified Disability Expenses, then there is no tax on the earnings portion of the withdrawal. See the list of approved categories of Qualified Disability Expenses for more details.

You can also sign up for an ABLE United Prepaid Card and load money from an ABLE United Account for use online or in stores all over the U.S.

Does having an ABLE United Account affect my other benefits?

No. You can keep your federal and state benefits (SSI, SSDI, Medicaid, SNAP, TANF, HUD Assistance, Section 8, etc.) with an ABLE United Account. If you receive SSI, there is a $100,000 limit before funds start counting against your $2,000 asset limit. As long as the money withdrawn is used for eligible expenses, it won’t count toward the limit.

Housing expenses are not a countable resource for SSI if they are paid directly from the ABLE United Account to a third party or withdrawn and paid in the same month. Withdrawals retained for Qualified Disability Expenses, other than housing, are not a countable resource for SSI. These funds must remain unspent and identifiable and are excluded in the months leading up to the actual expenditure.

What kind of benefits do I get by opening an ABLE United Account?

One of the main benefits of having an ABLE United Account is being able to save for Qualified Disability Expenses and invest for the future in a tax-advantaged Account. Earnings on the account grow tax-free as long as the funds are used for Qualified Disability Expenses.

Generally, funds in (or withdrawn from) an ABLE United Account are disregarded when determining Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid eligibility and other resource means-tested government benefit programs (SNAP, TANF, HUD Assistance, Section 8, etc.). For more information on having an ABLE United Account and government benefits, check back soon for new updates on this topic.

Other benefits include the option to have a prepaid card to use for qualified expenses, and the ability to have family and friends contribute to your account.

How do I know if I’m an Authorized Legal Representative (ALR)?

An Authorized Legal Representative (ALR) is someone who is legally authorized under state and federal law to make decisions for the Beneficiary. An ALR is a custodian for the Beneficiary, such as a parent, legal guardian or a person authorized under a power of attorney. The ALR may neither have, nor acquire, any beneficial interest in the ABLE United Account during the Beneficiary’s lifetime and must administer the ABLE United Account for the benefit of the Beneficiary.

If you don’t currently have power of attorney for a Beneficiary, you can find more information here (coming soon).

Can I still work and have an ABLE United Account?

Yes. Contributions into an ABLE United Account from wages still count as earned income, but do not count as an asset for federally means-tested programs such as Medicaid. For SSI, the first $100,000 does not count as an asset.

Beneficiaries who work can contribute more than $15,000 per year. To learn more visit ABLE to Work

Can there be more than one Authorized Legal Representative (ALR)?

There can only be one ALR per Account, but you may change an ALR by submitting a request. You may request a Change of Authorized Legal Representative Form by contacting customer service Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET at 1-888-524-2253 or from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET at 1-844-888-2253 (TTY).

Who owns the ABLE United Account?

The Account and the funds in it are owned by the Beneficiary, regardless of whether they opened the Account or if it is managed by an Authorized Legal Representative.

Can I close and transfer my ABLE United Account to a different ABLE Account?

Yes, but you can only make one rollover every 12 months. You should use the other ABLE plan’s rollover form to start the process. 

Can I transfer an existing ABLE Account into my ABLE United Account?

Yes, but you can only make one rollover every 12 months. Use the ABLE to ABLE Rollover Form (coming soon) to get started. There are also rollover options for eligible family members if the rollover happens before the death of the original Beneficiary who opened the Account.

Do I have to live in Florida?

The Beneficiary has to be a Florida resident at the time of application to be eligible for an ABLE United Account. If the Beneficiary moves out of the state, they can take it with them!

We encourage those who move out of state to learn more about that state’s ABLE plan, as there might be state-specific benefits. To learn more about other ABLE programs, visit the ABLE National Resource Center.

Does my disability meet the eligibility requirements for an ABLE United Account?

An individual meets the disability and severity criteria to open an ABLE United account if at least one of the following is true:

  • The individual is entitled to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
  • The individual has a condition on the List of Compassionate Allowances Conditions maintained by the Social Security Administration.
  • The individual has a diagnosis from a physician showing that they have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that results in marked and severe functional limitation(s), and which can be expected to result in death, or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months.

Those who don’t receive Social Security benefits are still eligible if they can get a signed Diagnosis Form (coming soon) from a licensed physician.

What types of disabilities qualify for an ABLE Account?

Any disability that qualifies for SSI or SSDI or blindness that developed before the age of 26 is eligible for an ABLE Account.

The Internal Revenue Service categorizes eligible disabilities as follows:

Developmental Disorders: autism spectrum disorder, Asperger’s disorder, developmental delays and learning disabilities

  • Intellectual Disability: May be reported as mild, moderate or severe intellectual disability
  • Psychiatric Disorders: schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anorexia nervosa, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD), bipolar disorder
  • Nervous Disorders: blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, juvenile-onset Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis, severe sensorineural hearing loss, congenital cataracts
  • Congenital Anomalies: chromosomal abnormalities, including Down syndrome; osteogenesis imperfecta, xeroderma pigmentosum, spinal muscular atrophy, fragile X syndrome, Edwards syndrome
  • Respiratory Disorders: cystic fibrosis
  • Other: tetralogy of Fallot, hypoplastic left heart syndrome, end-stage liver disease, juvenile-onset rheumatoid arthritis, sickle cell disease, hemophilia, and any other disability not listed

Those who don’t receive social security benefits are still eligible if they can get a signed Diagnosis Form (coming soon) from a licensed physician.

Am I eligible for an ABLE United Account?

You can check eligibility by using our simple eligibility wizard. Eligibility Wizard

What is ABLE to Work?

The ABLE to Work Act allows Beneficiaries who are employed to contribute an amount equal to their current year gross income up to $12,060 each year to their ABLE Account in addition to the annual standard contribution limit.

You can make an ABLE to Work contribution online or by using the Contribution Form (coming soon).

Keep in mind that, if the Beneficiary or their employer is contributing to a defined contribution plan (such as a 401(k)), annuity plan (403(b)), or deferred compensation plan (457(b)) this calendar year, the Beneficiary is not eligible to make ABLE to Work contributions.

Here is a link to the rules and guidelines you should know about.

Can I roll over a 529 College Savings Plan into my ABLE United Account?

Yes, you can roll over money from a 529 College Savings Account into a Beneficiary’s (or family member’s*) ABLE United Account without being penalized.

These types of rollovers count toward the $15,000 maximum annual contribution limit.

You can use the appropriate 529 College Savings to ABLE United Rollover Form (coming soon).

*The family member must be considered a qualified “Member of the Family” as defined by the 529 College Savings Plan, which includes: biological and step-parents, aunts, uncles, siblings, children, first cousins, nieces and nephews; parents, siblings, children, nieces and nephews by marriage; legally adopted children; and half-brothers or half-sisters) of the 529 College Savings Account Beneficiary.

Who can send me gifts?

Once you’ve set up your gifting page, anyone who has a link to it can contribute toward your goal. You can also give friends and family a Gift Form (coming soon) if they’d like to mail a check contribution.

Keep in mind that gift contributions count toward your annual contribution limit. So, if you’ve already reached it, your page will remain public, but no one can contribute again until next year.

What is the gifting limit?

If you decide to show your gifting limit, your gifting page will display the percentage of your goal that you’ve reached so far, so people who visit your page can see your progress.

Don’t worry, they can’t see the actual dollar amount you’ve collected or how much you want to save.

How will I know if I’ve received gifts?

When a gift contribution has processed, you’ll get an email letting you know someone contributed to your Account. All processed gift contributions will also appear in your activity feed. Please keep in mind, any gift contributions made through an online gifting page will not be available for withdrawal for 20 business days.

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