Establishing an ABLE Account
If you or a family member are disabled (per social security standards) and the onset of the disability was prior to the age of 26 you may be eligible to set up and fund an ABLE Account. Funds placed into and withdrawn from an ABLE account do not count as resources (or income) for most means-tested federal benefits (SSI; SNAP; Section 8; Long-term care Medicaid) so long as the distributions are for qualified disability expenses. Oregon’s state benefit programs also exempt the ABLE account funds. See OAR 461-145-0000.
Info on ABLE generally can be found here: http://www.ablenrc.org/
Oregon's plan can be found here: http://oregonablesavings.com/
A frequent question that comes up is what happens if the if the Social Security disability determination was not made until after age 26, but it is likely that disability onset was prior to 26?. Can a person still sign up for an ABLE account? The answer is yes. The applicant will have to self-certify that he or she meets the disability criteria and that onset was prior to 26. One does this by checking the box that in the application process indicating that they would be able to produce a letter from a medical doctor stating that they met the disability criteria and that onset was prior to 26. There is no need to actually file the doctor’s letter, it is sufficient to certify that one could produce it. The Oregon ABLE savings program has a form for people give to their doctor for this purpose.
The physician form is on this page: http://oregonablesavings.com/assets/docs/oregon-able-physician-form.pdf
The list of disabling conditions referenced in the form can be found here: https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/cfr20/404/404-app-p01.htm
Contact your special needs attorney today to find out more about ABLE and how it can be part of your plan.