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The mission of MiABLE is to encourage and assist the saving of private funds to help persons with disabilities cover costs that support their health, independence, and quality of life.
The MiABLE Disability Savings Program was created to allow individuals with disabilities and their families to save funds for Qualified Disability Expenses that support health, independence, and quality of life without jeopardizing eligibility for necessary federal benefits.
What is MiABLE?
The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) program was created to encourage and assist individuals and families to save, invest, and spend funds for qualified disability expenses for the purpose of supporting individuals with disabilities to maintain health, independence and quality of life; and to provide secure funding for qualified disability expenses on behalf of designated beneficiaries with disabilities that will supplement – but not supplant, reduce, eliminate, or impact – benefits provided through private insurance, the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, the Medicaid program, the beneficiary’s employment and other sources. The federal ABLE Act was signed into law in December 2014. The Michigan ABLE (MiABLE) was signed into law in October 2015. The Michigan Department of Treasury administers the MiABLE program.
What does the ABLE Act do?
The law allows certain people with disabilities to have special accounts for disability-related expenses without losing eligibility for SSI, Medicaid, and certain other public benefits.
Who is eligible for an ABLE account?
An individual is eligible if they became disabled or blind before the age of 26, and either is currently entitled to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or gets a disability certification under rules the U.S. Treasury will write.
The U.S. Treasury proposes that a person with signature authority, like an agent having power of attorney, or a parent or legal guardian, may aid eligible individuals who may not be able to open an ABLE account themselves.
How can an ABLE account be used?
An ABLE account must be used for “qualified disability expenses” that relate to the designated beneficiary’s blindness or disability and are for the benefit of that beneficiary in maintaining or improving his or her health, independence, or quality of life. Internal Revenue Code, Section 529(e)(5), lists the following as qualified disability expenses:
- Employment training and support;
- Assistive technology and personal support services;
- Health care, illness prevention, and overall wellness;
- Financial management and administrative services;
- Legal fees; expenses for oversight and monitoring;
- Funeral and burial expenses;
Expense payments from an ABLE account are referred to as “distributions” in the federal ABLE Act and legislation.
How much money can be deposited into an ABLE account?
There is an annual limit on the total amount that can be paid into an ABLE account. Annual deposits (contributions) to an ABLE account cannot exceed the individual gift tax exclusion in effect for the calendar year in which the contribution is made (in 2023, the amount is $17,000).
Furthermore, for ABLE account owners who have an income, an additional $13,590 can be contributed in 2023.
An ABLE account is considered a 529 account by the IRS. The maximum contribution limit for all Michigan 529 plans combined for a designated beneficiary is $500,000 – this includes any 529 prepaid tuition or college savings accounts the beneficiary may have.
The first $100,000 in an ABLE account would not be considered a resource when determining eligibility for SSI. If the account exceeds $100,000, the designated beneficiary could lose their monthly SSI cash payment but would continue to receive Medicaid benefits.
What is the ABLE tax advantage?
Distributions from an ABLE account, including any earnings, are not taxed if used for qualified disability expenses. If a distribution is not used for a qualified disability expense, that amount could be subject to income tax and a 10 percent penalty imposed.
Furthermore, anyone who contributes to a MiABLE account can deduct for up to $5,000 for a single return or $10,000 for a joint Michigan Income Tax return.
Can an eligible individual have more than one ABLE account?
No, eligible individuals can only have one ABLE account, but anyone can contribute to their account.
For more information:
Primary Contact: R. Scott de Varona, MBA
ABLE Program Manager
Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning; Michigan Department of Treasury
Email Address: MIABLE@michigan.gov
Web Site: www.miable.org
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Frequently asked questions
The complete webinar with Scott de Varona regarding MiABLE.