ABLE Accounts and Qualified Disability Expenses: How to Get it Right

ABLE accounts are a great tool for people with disabilities that is increasingly being used by families as part of their special needs plan for children with developmental disabilities. A lingering and persistent question for these families surrounds ABLE accounts and qualified disability expenses and what a qualified disability expense actually is.

Parent about to take notes on qualifying expenses to be paid from an ABLE account.

ABLE Accounts and Qualified Disability Expenses

To receive the protections and benefits of ABLE, the account can only be used to pay for Qualified Disability Expenses. An expense is “qualified” if:

  1. You incurred the expense at a time when you were considered an Eligible Individual (see “Eligibility” above);
  2. The expense relates to your disability.

The expense does not need to be “medically necessary” nor does it need to be for the sole benefit of the Eligible Individual.

Using the money in an ABLE account to purchse gifts for others is probably not related to the disability, but it’s not always easy to determine whether other types of expenses are allowed.

Social Security Administration Guidance

Each state program is charged with defining this term, and most states have developed very broad definitions that encompass most common uses for money in these accounts. However, we have some giudance from the social security administration. The following list is set out in social security guidelines for their examiners.

Qualified disability expenses (QDEs) are related to the blindness or disability of the designated beneficiary and for the benefit of the designated beneficiary. In general, a QDE includes, but is not limited to, an expense for:

  • •Education;
  • •Housing;
  • •Transportation;
  • •Employment training and support;
  • •Assistive technology and related services;
  • •Personal support services;
  • •Health;
  • •Prevention and wellness;
  • •Financial management and administrative services;
  • •Legal fees;
  • •Expenses for ABLE account oversight and monitoring;
  • •Funeral and burial; and,
  • •Basic living expenses (includes food)

Housing expenses detailed

The agency goes on to say that housing expenses include expenses for:

  • •Mortgage (including property insurance required by the mortgage holder);
  • •Real property taxes;
  • •Rent;
  • •Heating fuel;
  • •Gas;
  • •Electricity;
  • •Water;
  • •Sewer; and
  • •Garbage removal.

Why these things matter

Under federal law, the money in an ABLE account (up to the annual and lifetime maximums) is not considered when determining the eligibility of the account holder for SSI or medicaid benefits. However, even if the amount of money in the account meets the requirements, if the account is not used as intended then social security could determine that it no longer qualifies as a proper ABLE account, and would no longer be excluded from consideration for eligibility purposes. In less lawyerly language, this means if you don’t use the account the right way and spend money on the wrong things, you could lose the protection of the account.

How Do ABLE Accounts Fit Into the Larger Plan?

ABLE accounts are a valuable tool as part of your overall special needs plan for your child. They are useful for adults with disabilities who have the ability to manage and use money on their own, allowing them to save and spend without the restrictions otherwise imposed by SSI requirements.

But even for adults who are not able to handle their own money, these accounts provide a simple place to stash smaller cash windfalls, like the stimulus checks that arrived during the pandemic, or any gift from grandparents or others, as long as it is less than the yearly contribution limit. The accounts can also be used to supplement housing and food expenses without causing a reduction in SSI benefits.

A frequent question in the minds of parents is whether they should have an ABLE account or a special needs trust for their child. ABLE accounts are NOT a subsitute for a special needs trust. They serve different purposes and work in different ways. Some things you can do with a special needs trust cannot be done with an ABLE account, and some things an ABLE account can do a special needs trust cannot do.

Almost all families will need to create a special needs trust, but not all families will need an ABLE account – but many families will benefit from having both a special needs trust and an ABLE account. And depending on the situation, some families will need more than one special needs trust.

Who is eligible for an ABLE account?

ABLE accounts are a great tool for people with disabilities, but not everyone is eligible. A person of any age can open an account, but the disabling conidtion must have started before the age of 26. A parent can open an account for a minor, as long as there is a disability, or the disabled individual themselves can open an account once they turn 18. If the disabled individual is not able to handle their own affairs, a guardian or other person with authority can open the account on their behalf. Even disabled individuals over the age of 26 can open an account, as long as the disabliity began before age 26.

Disability can be established by indicating receipt of SSI or Medicaid benefits. If the individual is not receiving SSI at the time of opening the account, a medical statement of disability can be used to establish eligibility for the account.

Opening an account

ABLE accounts are authorized by federal law. Each state is responsible to create an ABLE program. Most state programs allow people from any state to open an account, so an individual can compare the features of different programs and choose the one that best fits their needs. The ABLE National Resource Center has a comparison tool for all the existing ABLE account programs, and links to each program that will provide information on opening an account. You don’t need an attorney to open an account, but the use of an ABLE account and how it fits into your overall special needs legal plan should be part of a consultation with a special needs law firm attorney.

Once you have an account, develop a method for keeping track of yearly contributions so that you don’t exceed the yearly limit. Make sure you provide information about contributing to the account to relatives who may give substantial gifts to your child, or who may want to make regular contributions for housing or other monthly costs.

Maintenance and closing an account

Individuals may have only one ABLE account. However, an existing account can be transferred to another state program if at some point a different program is a better fit. An existing 529 college savings plan for the disabled individual can also be rolled into an ABLE in some situations, if it’s determined that the individual will not be incurring college or other qualifying educational expenses. Unneeded 529 accounts can also be handled in a few other ways, but it is beyond the scope of this article to get into that.

At the end of the life of the account holder, any money remaining in the account may be claimed by a state Medicaid program that has paid benefits on behalf of the individual. If Medicaid does not make a claim, or if there is still additional money after the claim, that money will go either to the estate of the disabled individual, or according to a beneficiary designation made by the individual.

Parker Counsel Legal Services is a special needs law firm providing estate planning, special needs trusts, guardianship, and more to families with children who have developmental disabilities. Offices in Texas, Massachusetts, New Jersey. To see how we can help your family prepare for the future, schedule a short phone call here, or call 833-Red-BOOT (833-733-2668) or email at

Developmental Disabilities, SSI, and How to Get Approved

The cornerstone of any plan created by parents for a child with a developmental disability who will not be able to support themselves as adults is ensuring eligibility for SSI and Medicaid are maintained. Why? Because those two programs provide the safety net that makes sure vulnerable people with disabilities have their basic needs met – food, shelter, and medical care. Once eligibility and access to those programs is protected through the use of tools such as special needs trusts, family estate planning, and ABLE accounts, then a plan to supplement the basics can be created. Developmental disabilities, SSI, is a crucial part of any plan.

What is SSI?

SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income.  It is a federal program run by the Social Security Administration (SSA) that provides monthly cash benefits to people who are disabled, low income, with few assets, who cannot work at all or enough to earn substantial wages toward their own needs. It is considered a “needs based” benefit program.  

What is Medicaid?

Medicaid is a program that provides both health insurance and long term supports and services for people with disabilities. Medicaid may pay for things like nursing homes or group homes, personal care assistance for people living at home, and long term therapies.  In most states, if you apply for and are approved for SSI, you will automatically get Medicaid as well.  In some states, there are two separate applications, but the eligibility requirements are similar.  

When is the right time to apply for SSI?

An adult can apply for SSI in the month after they turn age 18, or anytime after that. In most cases a person with a developmental disability should apply before they turn age 22, as it may be easier to qualify than if they wait until they are older. Family income is not considered in determining eligibility for anyone 18 or older.

Applying for SSI requires showing the following things:

  • The person has very little or no regular income, either from work or another source.
  • The person has less than $2000 in cash or property.  Some property may be exempt from consideration, such as a house or vehicle.  
  • The person has a disability within the meaning of the law – roughly defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially affects one or more life functions, and that impairment is expected to last more than one year.
  • The person, because of the disability, is not able to hold a job that will earn a sufficient amount of money to provide for their basic needs (food and shelter). This is what SSA calls “substantial gainful activity.”

Successful applicants for SSI have done the following things:

  • Disposed of any assets over $2000 in an appropriate way (spent, placed in an ABLE account or a first party special needs trust)
  • Provided complete and detailed information about medical diagnoses, treatments, medications, and providers.
  • Provided information detailing the functional limitations that prevent the person from working to make a sufficient amount of money to provide for their own basic needs.  

Reasons SSI applications are denied:

  • The person is receiving too much income.  Calculating the amount that is “too much” is complicated, but if a person is not married and makes more than roughly $1700 a month from working, they may not qualify for SSI. If the person is making close to that amount, consulting with an attorney will help clarify if SSI is a possibility.
  • The person is not meet the definition of disabled.  For most people with developmental disabilities, a denial for this reason probably means that the SSA did not have enough of your medical information to make a proper determination.
  • The person is determined to be able to hold a job of some type.  This is the most likely reason a person with a developmental disability would be denied, but it often means the SSA did not have sufficient information in the application to get a good picture of the persons limitations.

Successful applications for SSI focus on the skills and abilities that are needed to work. 

This is far more than an ability to do the actual task involved in the job.  For example, a person may be able to do the actual job task, say unloading a delivery truck.  But to hold a job unloading delivery trucks, the person would have to be able to arrive at work on time, be able to understand and follow instructions, be able to communicate with co-workers or supervisors when needed, be able to understand when there is a problem that needs further guidance, be able to work in the environmental conditions present (heat, cold, noise, etc), and a whole host of other things that go into successfully holding a job.  For many people with developmental disabilities, these are the things that present sufficient difficulty to keep them from being able to hold a job at all or to work enough hours to make sufficient money. 

Further, it is those things that may not be readily apparent to the person at SSA determining eligibility, unless the applicant very clearly describes all the ways in which their disability interferes with the ability to hold a job.

That information can be provided to SSA in a number of ways, such as:

  • The person’s own description of their abilities, if possible
  • Information provided from those who know the person, like a parent, teacher, therapist or medical doctor
  • Information from school assessments
  • Record of work history and detailed description of why each job ended

Demonstration of failure is not required

An applicant for SSI does not need to have tried to work and failed before they can apply.  Some people will not know they are unable to work until they give it a try, but many people with developmental disabilities are very clearly unable to work and need not attempt to do so before their application is accepted. If the medical and educational information available shows the person does not have the necessary skills or abilities to hold a job of any kind, then that will be enough to have SSI approved.

Effect of a parent’s retirement or disability

When the parent of a person receiving SSI retires, or if the parent becomes disabled and receives social security disability benefits (which are different than SSI), then the person with SSI is eligible to receive a child’s benefit based upon their parent’s work record.  If the amount that they would receive is more than their SSI benefit (currently the maximum SSI benefit is $841 a month), then the person will receive the higher amount but will be able to keep their Medicaid benefit.  If the amount of the benefit from the parent is less than the person is currently receiving, they will receive that plus SSI up to the maximum amount of SSI.

What if the person receiving SSI later wants to try and work?

SSI does not require that you be completely unable to work.  If a person can work a few hours a week, or can work with a job coaches assistance, as long as their earning are less than about $1700 a month (the exact calculation depends on many factors) then they will continue to receive SSI.  The SSI amount paid is lowered in each month where there are earnings.  SSA also has programs that will allow a person to continue to receive SSI during a transitional or trial period if they are trying to reach independence through work.

Can a person receiving SSI get married?

Yes, of course, but there may consequences to the SSI.  Whether they can continue to be eligible for SSI, and whether their monthly benefit amount will be affected depends on many factors.  Anyone receiving SSI who is thinking about marriage should talk to an attorney or SSA before making a walk down the aisle.

Once a person is receiving SSI, what happens?

A person with SSI must promptly report any income to SSA.  Income includes wages from work but also any other regular payment to which the person is entitled or for which an expectation has been created.  Occasional cash gifts do not need to be reported, but a promise by dad or mom to give the person $XXX of every month does have to be reported. SSA will also periodically review the person’s case to determine whether they are still disabled. 

What if the person is not able to manage their own money?

SSA will appoint a Representative Payee to accept and manage the monthly SSI payment on behalf of any person who is not capable of managing their own money.  This can be done whether or not the person has a guardian.  The Representative Payee will be required to make yearly reports to SSA on how the money was used.

What else should families do to preserve the adult child’s SSI eligibility?

The primary reason a person with a developmental disability would lose their SSI and Medicaid is if they receive a large amount of money or property from inheritance or life insurance. Therefore it is very important for parents and grandparents to set up special needs trusts and have a will that leaves any gift they intend for the person to that special needs trust for their care. If money is gifted to a property drafted special needs trust, it will not cause the person to lose their SSI, and it will provide money to use to supplement their care.

Is there anything else families should do to preserve the adult child’s SSI eligibility?

Any person that intends to help support or provide gifts of any kind to a person receiving SSI must make sure their gift doesn’t unintentionally cause problems. Consulting with a special needs law firm, with attorneys who understand how to use ABLE accounts, trusts, and other tools to provide for a person without causing SSI problems, is the best way to protect that person.

Parker Counsel Legal Services is a special needs law firm with offices in Texas, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. Set up a consultation to answer your questions by scheduling a brief call, email, or call 833-RED-BOOT (833-733-2668).

Animated person walking on stairs that spell "start" for developmental disabilities, ssi

Dive into ABLE accounts vs special needs trusts

We frequently get asked by families whether an ABLE account or a special needs trust is best for them.  The short answer is a typical lawyer answer: it depends.  The medium answer is that they serve different purposes and its not a matter of choosing one or the other, its about choosing the best vehicle for specific purposes, and in the end, most families should have both an ABLE and a special needs trust.

They both serve as a place where money can be accumulated for a person with a disability without interfering with eligibility for SSI and Medicaid benefits. Past that commonality, there are significant differences.


An ABLE account can be owned and even managed by the person with the disability, if they otherwise have the ability. The disabled individual can make his or her own decisions and use a debit card or checks to pay for items.

A special needs trust must be managed by a trustee, who makes all the decisions about investment and use of the money in the trust.  The person with the disability, or a guardian or caretaker, can propose expenditures from the trust, but the trustee makes the final decision and handles the purchase.


An ABLE account has both yearly and lifetime deposit limits, at least for purposes of excluding assets from consideration for SSI and Medicaid eligibility. Up to $15,000 per year (approximate, this amount is tied to an index so will vary slightly year to year) may be deposited without impacting SSI or Medicaid eligibility.  A maximum of $100,000 total can be held in the ABLE account without impacting SSI or Medicaid eligibility.  The yearly deposit limit is far below what a person might typically receive from a parent upon the parent’s death, when property, retirement accounts and life insurance are all figured in.  An ABLE account can hold only cash, as well, so if a child is left property other than cash it could not be shielded by the ABLE account.  Money can be contributed by any person.

A special needs trust has no limit on the amount that can be contributed to it at any time, nor a maximum value overall.  A special needs trust can also hold any type of property, including a house, car, or other non-cash assets (with the exception of a pooled trust, which is not discussed in this article).  Like the ABLE account, money can be contributed by any person, but if the disabled person will be a contributor then the trust itself must have some special provisions.

Number of accounts

A person may have only one ABLE account.  It is not possible to get around the contribution limits by opening multiple accounts, as only one account is legal permitted.

A person may have any number of special needs trusts naming them as beneficiary.  Each parent and each individual grandparent could set up their own special needs trust for a person if they so chose, giving them the ability to choose the trustee and terms of their own liking.

Read more on ABLE accounts and special needs trusts:

ABLE Account Q&A,

4 Things to know about ABLE Accounts,

How NOT to use special needs trust money,

Does your child need a special needs trust to get Medicaid?,

The basics of special needs trusts

A special needs law firm can help you figure out what you need for your child, and how to put all the planning pieces together.

Parker Counsel Legal Services is a special needs law firm providing estate planning, special needs trusts, guardianship, and more to families with children who have developmental disabilities. Offices in Texas, Massachusetts, New Jersey. To see how we can help your family prepare for the future, schedule a short phone call here, or call 833-Red-BOOT (833-733-2668) or email at


SSI: Supplemental Security Income for Adults

SSI is a federal program administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to provide monthly cash payments to people with disabilities who have little to no income and fewer than $2000 in assets. It stands for "supplemental security income" and is not the same as SSDI (social security disability income), which is a program for adults who become disabled after having worked and paid into the social security system. Children under age 18 can receive SSI, but family income is considered in the eligibility determination. Once a child turns 18, only income and assets belonging to the individual are considered.
An application can be started online, by phone, or in person at your local social security office.
Eligibility is based on two factors: financial situation and disability status. Disability, for SSI purposes, means that a person has a physical or mental condition that is expected to continue for at least a year or more, and prevents the person from holding employment sufficient to support themselves. Developmental disabilities frequently result in a disability for SSI purposes, but a diagnosis alone is not enough. Applicants must show medical, educational, or vocational evidence that they are not able to engage in meaningful work.
There are several types of information that may be needed to establish disability. Medical information, of course, will be needed - doctors, treatments, medications, etc will all be needed to establish that a physical or mental condition exists. The medical information will also establish the severity of the condition. In addition to medical information, some people may need to add other information in order to demonstrate that the person is not able to engage in meaningful employment. This could include documents from educational evaluations and special education reviews, information about attempts to engage in employment (if any), or statements from therapists and other professional providers.
If your child is under age 18, family income is considered when determining eligibility for SSI. If your child is 18 or older, ONLY the income the child earns is considered. Any support you provide in the way of housing or groceries is considered when determining your child's monthly SSI benefit, but family income is NOT considered to determine eligibility itself.
An adult disabled child whose disability began before the age of 22 and who receives SSI benefits, can receives benefits on their parent's account when the parent retires, dies, or becomes disabled. If the amount of benefits from the parent's account is more than the SSI amount, the child will receive the higher amount and no longer receive SSI. However, they will continue to receive Medicaid benefits. In addition, after two years of receiving the disabled adult child benefit, they will be able to obtain Medicare in addition to their Medicaid.
To be eligible for SSI, a person must have no more than $2000 in assets - cash, savings, stocks, savings bonds, etc. Some items are exempt - Any assets over $2000 must be spent or moved to an ABLE account or a special needs trust before applying for SSI.
To be eligible for SSI, a person cannot be able to engage in "substantial gainful activity." Basically, this means that are not able to work enough to make enough money to take care of themselves. SSI recipients are not prohibited from working altogether, though. If they are either 1) earning less than roughly $1700 a month, or 2) are enrolled in a social security program designed to transition them into regular work.

Parker Counsel Legal Services is a special needs law firm providing estate planning, special needs trusts, guardianship, and more to families with children who have developmental disabilities. Offices in Texas, Massachusetts, New Jersey. To see how we can help your family prepare for the future, schedule a short phone call here, or call 833-Red-BOOT (833-733-2668) or email at

4 keys dangling against the sky

Pandemic stimulus payments for SSI recipients

UPDATE: On April 15 the Treasury department finally announced that it would not require SSI recipients to take extra steps to receive the $1200 stimulus payment. If you have NOT already filed a return or submitted the short form reference in the post below, you should not have to do anything at this point to receive the $1200 stimulus payment for any SSI recipient. It appears that although the payments will be coming from the IRS, not the SSA, they will be made in whatever manner SSI benefits are received – direct deposit, DirectExpress benefits card, or paper check. Right now they are expected to go out in early May.

Most adults who receive SSI benefits are entitled to the $1200 stimulus payments passed by the US Congress. But there are some details you need to know.

Adults (anyone age 18 or older) who receive SSI benefits and are NOT claimed as a dependent on anyone else’s tax return are entitled to the $1200 payment.

The payment will NOT be counted as income to the recipient, and so will NOT affect the monthly benefit.

The payment will NOT be counted as an asset for 12 months, so if your SSI recipient has some money saved and this payment would put them over the $2000 asset limit, you will have 12 months to spend the money before it affects the monthly benefit.

SSI recipients will NOT get these payments automatically. Because of a glitch in the way the legislation was written, and despite urging by disability groups and many legislators for the Treasury Department to fix this oversight, anyone who gets SSI and did not file a tax return in either 2018 or 2019 – which is almost all SSI recipients – will need to file a simplified information form with the IRS in order to get their payment.

If you have already filed a 2019 tax return for your adult child, you do not need to take this additional step.

If you have SSI payments direct deposited to a bank account, the stimulus payment can be sent to the same account. You can also direct the payment into any other bank account that is in the name of the SSI recipient.

If you receive paper checks, you can receive the stimulus payment by paper check.

Unfortunately, if SSI payments are made to a benefits debit card, there is currently no information on how the stimulus payment can be made to that card account. You will have to ask for a paper check if there is no other bank account in the SSI recipient’s name. This obviously will present a problem on how to get that check cashed. One option would be to go ahead and open an ABLE account if that is something you have been considering but haven’t gotten around to yet.

Another option would be to do a third party endorsement of the check to yourself (a parent or other responsible adult) and deposit it into your own account. You do this by having the check endorsed as thus: “Pay to the order of (parent or other), signature of payee (person the check is made out to).” Then when you deposit it into your own account you sign as you would normally endorse a check. But BE ADVISED that some banks will not accept third party endorsements, so check with your bank before you try this.

The IRS registration form is here.

Stay safe. Stay sane.

Portsmouth NH Special Needs Trust Attorney

Parents of children with developmental disabilities that will not be able to work and support themselves as adults can provide for their children in the future with special needs trusts. This special type of trust allows families of all economic means to leave money to help provide a better quality of life for their child without endangering their very important social security and Medicaid benefits. You can find more information on special needs trusts here. Our firm can help you develop a comprehensive estate plan that includes a special needs trust for your child with special needs to ensure resources for their care long into the future.

Your child may also need guardianship after they turn 18, when you, the parents, can no longer make decisions for them or even access educational and medical information without your child’s permission. Our firm can help families in Rockingham county and Stratford county apply for and present the necessary evidence to a Court to obtain an order of guardianship. Some of your questions about guardianship are answered here.

The best way to get answers to your questions and see if we can help you is to give us a call or send an email. We love to chat with families about their needs, and we promise you will learn something you didn’t already know when you talk to us. 833-RED-BOOT (833-733-2668) or

A New Hampshire special needs trust attorney can help you from our office in downtown Portsmouth, 155 Fleet St, Portsmouth NH 03801.

How NOT to use Special Needs Trust Money

Special needs trusts are simple and yet oh so complicated, like almost everything devised by the government. They are a wonderful tool for parents and others to provide money to use for a disabled child while protecting the child’s eligibility for Medicaid and SSI (social security benefits). They can hold any amount of money and that money can be used to supplement the benefits received from the government and thereby, it is hoped, enhance the quality of life of the individual.

The money cannot ever, however, be used to pay for items that the benefits are intended to cover, without causing some reduction in, or sometimes loss of, the benefits. This includes things like:

Cash given directly to the beneficiary for any purpose

Food or groceries

Restaurant meals (except if given as an occasional gift)

Rent or mortgage payments

Utilities such as electricity, gas, and water

Utilities hookup or connection charges

On the other hand, a special needs trust CAN make contributions to an ABLE account, and the ABLE account CAN be used to pay for many of the items the Trust cannot pay for. See? Simple and yet complicated all at the same time.

Parker Counsel Legal Services serves families in Central Texas, Western Massachusetts, Northern New Jersey, and the New Hampshire Seacoast with special needs estate planning, special needs trusts, and guardianships. Contact us for a consultation at 833-RED-BOOT (833-733-2668) or

Myth vs Attorney

As a special needs parent myself, I regularly tell our clients that getting connected to parent support groups is almost a necessity to get through life with a special needs child. Traditional sources of parenting wisdom and tips, like grandparents, the mommy group at the playground, and even the many many many parenting books at Barnes and Noble simply aren’t going to have the information we need for our differently abled and differently developing children. Special needs parent groups are a lifesaver.

But there are certain types of information that should still come from professionals. I frequently see bits of info regarding benefits and legal issues passed around in these groups that is just plain wrong. Much of it is ultimately harmless, but a lot of things I see can actually result in the loss of benefits and opportunities if the information is taken as true.

For example, recently this myth has been making the rounds: that individuals with disablities can only open an ABLE account if they are receicving SSI benefits. This is not true. You do not have to be receiving benefits in order to qualify for an ABLE account. And this is only the latest in a string of myths I see passed around about programs and benefits for kids and adults with special needs.

[The ABLE National Resource Center has a webinar coming up this Thursday, June 20, to bust that and some other myths about ABLE accounts. ]

Just as you must go to a doctor for a reliable medical diagnosis, you must go to experts for other types of reliable information. An attorney who deals with special needs issues is one great source, and our office is always willing to answer questions – the easiest way to get a question to us is by email but you can also call and leave a message. We will get back to you. We are here to help as best we can.

Make sure you have accurate information about what help your child is entitled to and make sure you have accurate information about how to get those benefits.

Parker Counsel Legal Services provides estate planning, guardianship, special needs trusts, and other services to families who have children with developmental disabilities in Texas, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New Jersey. 833-RED-BOOT (833-733-2668) or schedule a short information call at calendly.

New Hampshire ABLE Accounts

If you have a child or young adult in your New Hampshire family with a disability, thinking about therapies and medical visits and educational life skills isn’t the only are you need to be thinking about. There are also financial concerns about how the child will meet housing and medical and other future needs.

The biggest financial necessity is Medicaid and social security benefits, but in order to get those and still have money from parents or other family members to supplement the small cash benefit from social security, careful planning is required. Special needs trusts, trustees, estate planning for family members, and guardianships or alternatives for those that need help are all required in order to maximize the resources available to provide your child with a good life. And now there is another tool that can work alongside the other planning tools – an ABLE Account.

ABLE accounts are available to anyone with a disability that began before the age of 26. The accounts allow up to $15,000 a year to be deposited with certain tax advantages, and without being considered a resource that will interfere with receiving medicaid and SSI. These accounts can also be managed and money can be spent from them by the individual with the disability directly, rather than by a trustee as with special needs trusts. This makes these accounts especially useful for individuals with physical but not cognitive disabilities who have money management skills.

You can view details of the New Hampshire program here, but New Hampshire families can open an ABLE account in any state.

Parker Counsel Legal Services assists families in New Hampshire in setting up special needs trusts, ABLE accounts, guardianships, and other planning needs for special needs family members. Find out how we can help you – call us at 833-RED-BOOT (833-733-2668).