ABLE Is Now Open

My January 2015 Newsletter announced the passage of The Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE Act). In March of 2015 Virginia passed legislation directing Virginia529 to develop and administer ABLE accounts in Virginia, designated as ABLEnow.

ABLEnow is now open and ready for qualified disabled applicants to open accounts. Just google Virginia ABLEnow and you will be taken to the site.

To review, ABLE accounts allow a qualified disabled person to open a tax free account to pay for qualified disability expenses. In addition, up to certain limits, the accounts do not affect the disabled person's ongoing eligibility for SSI and Medicaid.

  • ABLE accounts are for blind or disabled persons whose blindness or disability occurred before the individual's 26th birthday.
  • Contributions to an ABLE account are limited to the annual gift tax exclusion ($14,000 currently).
  • For SSI, balances in an ABLE account in excess of $100,000 are counted as an asset for determining eligibility for SSI, but not for Medicaid eligibility.
  • Upon the death of the beneficiary, Medicaid may be entitled to repayment from funds remaining in the account.

Funds from the account must be used for 'qualified disability expenses' that pay for a variety of expenses related to maintaining the health, independence and quality of life for people with disabilities. This includes education, housing, health, transportation, assistive technology, employment training and legal fees.

ABLEnow has various investment options and an ABLE debit card can be used for qualified expenses.

To contact directly use: contact ABLEnow Customer Service at 1-844-NOW-ABLE (1-844-669-2253) or email Call Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time or go to online at

Because of the 'payback requirements' and asset limitations ABLE accounts are no substitute for a Third Party Special Need Trust. However, as another vehicle to manage savings for individuals with disabilities, it's great tool.

Community Presentations in January 2017. On January 10, 2017 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm for the Autism Support Group, Ed will present on Virginia's new Developmental Waiver program. The location is at Paragon Autism Services at 312 Progress Street Fredericksburg, VA 22401

Edward Zetlin Law is experienced in Elder Law and Developmental Disability issues. Don't hesitate to call if you face such an issue or if you have additional questions. Edward Zetlin Law would be happy to discuss. Please contact us at 703-379-0442 or e-mail at

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