When a person qualifies for supplemental security income, that person is generally unable to work because of some disability. This disability might impede the person’s ability to get or hold a job. In many cases, these individuals might rely on SSI and their family in order to pay for their basic needs — like housing, food or clothing.
In order to qualify for SSI people not only need to be disabled, they need to be low income. This means there are limits to the amount of income these individuals can earn and the number of assets they can legally have.
This makes in especially difficult for families with disabled children. While they need SSI income to meet the financial burdens that accompany a disabled child, they are unable to accumulate too many assets for their child’s future out of fear of losing the child’s SSI benefits.
Recently, however, Congress has passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act. Under the ABLE Act, parents of disabled children are able to save money for the child in a savings account. The accounts are comparable to 529 educational savings accounts. These accounts allow parents to save money for the child’s medical expenses, housing, transportation or educational expenses. These plans are available tax free. These plans do not affect a person’s eligibility for SSI.
With the help of the ABLE Act, families will be able to worry less about the amount of money that they save for their child’s future without losing important governmental benefits.
People who qualify for SSI need to make sure they understand all their legal rights when it comes to obtaining benefits. In particular, people need to understand how changes in the law — like the passage of the ABLE Act — affect their benefits.
Source: The Mercury, “ABLE Act ends a savings injustice for the disabled,” Dec. 26, 2014