Make us your home page

Program will offer tax-free savings accounts for people with disabilities

People with disabilities will be able to open new, tax-free savings accounts under at least one program offered nationally this summer.

The state-sponsored accounts are known as 529 ABLE, or 529A, accounts. Authorized in 2014 by the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act, or ABLE Act, the accounts are modeled loosely on 529 college savings accounts.

The main benefit of the new accounts is that they allow disabled people to accumulate significant savings without jeopardizing their eligibility for need-based government help such as Supplemental Security Income or Medicaid. Disabled people, their families and friends can contribute as much as $14,000 a year without putting federal benefits at risk.

Florida expects to start an ABLE program by July 1, but will restrict enrollment to state residents, according to the program's website.

Families should consider any fees associated with the accounts when making a choice. The website for Ohio's program, called Stable, for instance, says state residents will pay $2.50 a month to maintain an account, plus fees based on a percentage of their assets, depending on which type of investment they choose. Residents of other states may pay more.

Advocates continue to work to enhance the accounts. Currently, for instance, ABLE accounts are available to those who became disabled before age 26. But In March, the sponsors of the original law proposed legislation to expand eligibility to those disabled before age 46.

The ABLE Age Adjustment Act is pending in committee, according to


Where can I learn more about 529 ABLE accounts? The Able National Resource Center has a website,, with information about the accounts.

How does a 529 ABLE account differ from a special needs trust? A special needs trust can be used to shelter a disabled person's assets, but can be expensive to establish and maintain. ABLE accounts are intended to offer a simpler, less costly option, advocates for the disabled said. But they have this drawback: Unlike funds in properly structured trust, funds in an ABLE account may be tapped to help repay state Medicaid costs after a beneficiary's death.

May I have more than one ABLE account? No. Unlike 529 college savings accounts, you may have just one ABLE account.

Can Florida residents get one of these accounts? Florida expects to start an ABLE program by July 1, but will restrict enrollment to state residents, according to the program's website.

Program will offer tax-free savings accounts for people with disabilities 05/29/16 [Last modified: Sunday, May 29, 2016 6:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, New York Times.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Triad Retail Media names Sherry Smith as CEO


    ST. PETERSBURG — Triad Retail Media, a St. Petersburg-based digital ads company, said CEO Roger Berdusco is "leaving the company to pursue new opportunities" and a member of the executive team, Sherry Smith, is taking over.

    Roger Berdusco is stepping down as CEO at Triad Retail Media to pursue other opportunities. [Courtesy of Triad Retail Media]
  2. Two new condo projects for same street in downtown St. Pete

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — It lacks the panache and name recognition of Beach Drive, but 4th Avenue N in downtown St. Petersburg is becoming a condo row in its own right.

    Bezu, a condo project planned at 100 4th Ave. N in downtown St. Petersburg, will have 24 units including a three-level penthouse with infinity pool.
[Courtesy of Clear ph Design]
  3. AAA expects gas prices in Tampa Bay will continue to fall


    Ticking slowly and steadily, regular gas prices have receded for the last 10 consecutive days. The average unleaded gas price in Florida is $2.67 this morning, a nickel cheaper than a week ago. In Tampa Bay, the current average unleaded gas has dropped 7 cents from a week ago to $2.62. The national average for regular …

    Gas prices for regular gas continue to decline. In Tampa Bay, the current average unleaded gas is down 7 cents from a week ago at $2.62 a gallon. [Times file photo]
  4. Kiran and Pallavi Patel commit $200 million for Clearwater medical school

    Real Estate

    CLEARWATER — Tampa Bay philanthropists Dr. Kiran Patel and his wife, Dr. Pallavi Patel are spending $200 million to create and promote a Tampa Bay regional campus for the private Nova Southeastern University.

    Drs. Kiran and Pallavi Patel, prolific Tampa Bay philanthropists, are putting up $200 million to create and run a new medical school under Nova Southeastern University. Here is a rendering of the proposed campus [Courtesy of Nova Southestern University}
  5. USF to rename sports management program for Vinik family


    The University of South Florida will name a business program for the Vinik family at a Tuesday event.

    Tampa Bay Lightning owner and chairman Jeff Vinik and his wife, Penny, in 2010.