Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act (2014) & ABLEnow (the Virginia-sponsored ABLE savings program)
The Stephen Beck, Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act became law in December 2014. This federal law authorized states to establish tax-advantaged savings programs for qualified disability expenses. The purpose is to encourage and assist individuals with disabilities in saving funds to maintain health, independence and quality of life.
In April 2015, Virginia became the first state in the country to pass ABLE legislation. ABLEnow, the Virginia-sponsored ABLE savings program, will open for nationwide enrollment in 2016.
The ABLEnow program is administered by Virginia529, the country’s largest college savings plan. Virginia529 is committed to bringing ABLEnow to life, while ensuring the program addresses the needs of participants and meets the high standards the agency adheres to in its successful college savings programs.
The ABLE Act limits eligibility to individuals with significant disabilities with an age of onset of disability before turning 26 years of age. If you meet this age criteria and are also receiving benefits already under SSI and/or SSDI, you are automatically eligible to establish an ABLE account. If you are not a recipient of SSI and/or SSDI, but still meet the age of onset disability requirement, you could still be eligible to open an ABLE account if you meet Social Security’s definition and criteria regarding significant functional limitations and receive a letter of certification from a licensed physician.