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ABLE Act Update

Published June 6, 2017

By: Amy C. O’Hara, Esq., Littman Krooks LLP

The Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (the ABLE Act) became effective in New York State on April 1, 2016. The purpose of the ABLE program is to assist individuals with disabilities with saving funds in accounts to better enhance their independence and quality of life. The program is intended to supplement, not supplant, government entitlements, such as Medicaid and SSI. Distributions from the account can be used to pay for qualified disability expenses, including education, housing, transportation, and health.

New York

  • While the NY ABLE Program is in effect in New York, to date, New Yorkers are unable to open an ABLE account in New York.   The Office of New York State Comptroller’s office reports now that enrollment will be available beginning in the summer of 2017. Also, New York State has a new website offering information: NY ABLE.


On March 17, 2016, Congress reintroduced three bills in the 115th Congress:

  • The ABLE to Work Act (S 818/HR 1896) would allow an ABLE beneficiary who works and earns income, but does not participate in an employer’s retirement plan, to make additional contributions to an ABLE account equal to the lesser of the beneficiary’s compensation or an amount equal to the federal poverty line (currently $12,060). Beneficiaries would also be eligible for the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit (Saver’s Credit), a federal tax credit that certain low -income individuals can claim when they make contributions to a retirement account.
  • The ABLE Financial Planning Act (S 816/HR 1897) would allow an ABLE beneficiary to roll over a 529 college saving account to a 529A ABLE account up to the annual maximum contribution (currently $14,000).
  • The ABLE Age Adjustment Act (S 817/HR 1874) would increase the age threshold for beneficiaries to open an ABLE account by raising the age of onset of disability from 26 to 46.

To learn more of how an ABLE account can be valuable for you and your loved ones please contact us.

Learn more about special needs planning and special needs trusts at Have questions about this article? Contact us.

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