Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) accounts are new tax-favored savings accounts offered by states that enable certain individuals with disabilities to save for qualified expenses without losing their eligibility for means-tested federal benefits.  Here are five things you should now about these accounts:

1. The first ABLE programs opened in 2016.
Ten states launched ABLE programs in 2016 with more states expected to follow suit in the future. Although a state may choose to limit enrollment to state residents only, eight of the first ABLE programs-Alaska, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Virginia-are open to the residents of any state.

2. ABLE accounts offer tax-free growth potential.
Investment earnings are not taxed while in an ABLE account and can be withdrawn tax-free if used for qualified disability expenses, such as education, transportation, housing, employment training, and assistive technology.

3. Only one account may be opened per beneficiary.
To be eligible for an ABLE account, the beneficiary must have become blind or disabled before age 26. Plus, he or she must be entitled to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or certify that he or she meets certain other eligibility requirements.

4. Up to $14,000 may be contributed annually per beneficiary.
The annual limit applies to the total contributions from all sources. In addition to the annual contribution limit, each program has its own account balance limit, which may be as high as a few hundred thousand dollars. Please note, though, that when the account balance goes over $100,000, SSI benefits (but not Medicaid benefits) will be suspended until the balance drops below $100,000.

5. Leftover savings may be claimed to reimburse Medicaid.
After the beneficiary's death, savings remaining in the account after all out­ standing qualified disability expenses have been paid may be claimed by the beneficiary's stat as repayment for the Medicaid assistance that it provided to the beneficiary during the time the account was open. 

With offices in Williston and Rutland Vermont, Copper Leaf Financial Advisers take a holistic approach to your financial well-being so call us today at (802) 878-2731 to schedule a strategy session.