The Benefits of Putting Stimulus Aid in ABLE Accounts for the Disabled

The Benefits of Putting Stimulus Aid in ABLE Accounts for the Disabled

If the money is deposited in an ABLE account, it doesn’t count toward the $2,000 cap. It can be saved or invested and spent later on a variety of disability-related needs that arise, like housing, transportation, education and training.

Disabled people working toward independence can save for a down payment for an apartment or a wheelchair-accessible car. Or the funds can be used to save for specialized therapy or legal fees.

“It’s incredibly helpful to save for those bigger expenses,” said Bethany Lilly, senior director of income policy with the Arc, a nonprofit organization that works on behalf of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

In the first round of stimulus payments, individuals got up to $1,200, based on income; in the second round, up to $600. The third round, which is subject to congressional negotiations, is expected to be $1,400, but income caps may be lower.

“By putting it into an ABLE account, it’s an emergency fund,” Ms. Morris of ABLE Now said. “It’s a really nice opportunity.”

Some families have hesitated to use ABLE accounts because some have high account and investment fees. Increasing the number of participants, account proponents say, could help bring down costs. Many states have formed partnerships to better market the accounts, said Andrea Feirstein, managing director of AKF Consulting Group.

Also, legislation reintroduced in Congress aims to expand the pool of people who qualify for the accounts. Currently, to be eligible for an ABLE account, someone must have been disabled by age 26. The ABLE Age Adjustment Act would raise the age threshold to 46. Such a move would increase the pool of eligible people to about 14 million, Ms. Feirstein said.

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