Ohio Treasurer Announces Launch of STABLE Accounts
This month, Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel announced the launch of State Treasury Achieving a Better Life Experience (STABLE) accounts. STABLE accounts allow individuals with disabilities to save and invest money for their future while remaining eligible for certain public benefit programs. Ohio is the first state in the country to implement a process for enrollment for eligible individuals living with disabilities.
STABLE Accounts are made possible by the federal Achieving a Better Life Experience (“ABLE”) Act passed by Congress in 2014. STABLE Accounts allow individuals with disabilities the opportunity to save and invest money without losing eligibility for certain public benefits programs, like Medicaid, Social Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Earnings in STABLE Accounts are not subject to federal income tax, so long as funds are spent on qualified disability expenses.
Participants in the STABLE program can use the money in their individual account for qualified expenses, such as education, healthcare, housing and transportation. The new accounts were made possible by House Bill 155 which was signed into law by Governor Kasich in July of 2015.
Historically, individuals with disabilities were forced to chose between accumulating money at an amount lower than the allowable resource limit (which is currently set at $2,000) and having access to public assistance, or saving money in excess of the allowable resource limit and risk losing the public benefits they rely on to support their daily needs.
STABLE Accounts have similar features to normal bank accounts, but are also investment accounts, similar to 529 college savings accounts or 401(k) retirement accounts. When a participant deposits money into their STABLE Account, the money can be invested in different options chosen by the participant. While participants can still withdraw and spend money as needed, a STABLE Account also allows money to grow and to save for long-term disability expenses.
Eligible individuals can set up their STABLE Account for free at www.stableaccount.com. An initial contribution of at least $50 is required in order to set up an account, and up to $14,000 per plan year can be deposited into this account with the first $100,000 disregarded as countable assets when applying for many public benefits.