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ABLE Accounts Help People With Disabilities Save for the Future

1 14 20

Taylor Carty grew up with a checking and savings account, but after college, she needed a different way to save for medical school that wouldn’t jeopardize her health insurance.

Carty, who has cerebral palsy, qualifies for California’s Medicaid program, Medi-Cal, which pays for some medical expenses that her primary insurance doesn’t cover. But for someone to be eligible for Medicaid, they generally must have only $2,000 or less across most assets, including cash in bank accounts.

“I realized that if I wanted to keep my Medi-Cal but also plan for my future, especially since I wanted to attend medical school, I needed some tool. And that’s where ABLE accounts came in,” says Carty, who works remotely from Ballard, California, as a research affiliate at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a research assistant at the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University. She’s also an ambassador for the ABLE National Resource Center.

Created by a federal law in 2014, Achieving a Better Life Experience — ABLE — accounts provide a way for people with disabilities to save money without losing public benefits such as Medicaid. Here’s what to know about ABLE accounts.

An ABLE account is a type of savings and investment account that works like a 529 college savings plan: Contributions grow tax-free, and withdrawals must be for qualified expenses (more details below).

“ABLE accounts are not meant to replace any services you’re already receiving,” says Miranda Kennedy, director of the ABLE National Resource Center, which is managed by the nonprofit National........

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