When people in Pennsylvania are disabled, they may find it difficult, if not impossible, to work. Since they have very few opportunities for employment, many need to rely on social services, like Social Security disability benefits, in order to make ends meet. However, when applying for these benefits, individuals often need to be careful about the number of assets they have available to them. In some situations, accumulating assets or other social services can put their Social Security benefits, particularly Supplemental Security Income, at risk.
This is especially true for disabled children whose parents may have access to other assets. Parents are forced to keep assets out of their children’s names so they don’t risk their children losing eligibility for SSI benefits. However, the situation just got easier in Pennsylvania.
According to reports, Pennsylvania’s Achieving a Better Life Experience Act was passed by the state Senate unanimously. Governor Tom Wolf has agreed to sign the measure into law.
Under the PA-ABLE, families of disabled individuals are able to save money so that that disabled individuals can support themselves in the future. By creating an PA-ABLE savings account, individuals can save up to $14,000 annually and reduce this amount from their taxable income. The savings that is placed into this account is then allowed to grow tax-free. Furthermore, accounts are exempt from inheritance tax and withdrawals happen tax-free when use for qualified disabled expenses. Additionally, ABLE savings are also exempt from means tested federal programs like SSI.
Individuals who receive SSI benefits from the Social Security Administration need to understand how their assets can affect their eligibility for the programs. It is important that individuals understand their legal rights and how to protect their right to the income they desperately need. There are ways to make sure that individuals keep their assets while taking advantage of other social programs.
Source: Times Leader, “ABLE Act unanimously approved; governor will sign,” Bill O’Boyle, April 13, 2016