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What is West Virginia’s ABLE program for people with disabilities?

In West Virginia, certain people with disabilities might be eligible for the state’s ABLE program. This program allows eligible applicants to open investment accounts to save money without impacting their eligibility for federal and state benefits, including Social Security Disability Insurance, Supplemental Security Income, and Medicaid. Opening an ABLE account might allow eligible people with disabilities to save money for retirement or to spend money on disability-related expenses.

Eligibility for ABLE

To be eligible for the ABLE program, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Developed your disabling condition before age 26
  • Are entitled to SSI or SSDI because of your disability
  • Have a condition listed by the Social Security Administration, or
  • Are able to self-certify your diagnosis and disability

Self-certification means that you have a written and signed diagnosis from a licensed doctor and are blind or have a mental or physical impairment that causes substantial functional impairments.

ABLE program benefits

The ABLE program allows you to open a STABLE Account by choosing from among four investment options or one FDIC-insured account. The earnings in your account can grow tax-free, and your balance will not affect your eligibility for SSDI or Medicaid. There are some limitations placed on account holders who receive SSI. The government will not count the first $100,000 in your STABLE Account. However, any amounts above that will be counted for SSI eligibility purposes. For example, if you save $102,000 in your STABLE Account and receive SSI, the Social Security Administration will ignore the first $100,000 in your account but count the remaining $2,000. Your SSI benefits may be suspended until your balance returns to $100,000. Once you spend down the excess, your benefits can resume.

The ABLE program is a great resource for people who have disabilities. It allows people to invest and save money without fear of losing their public benefits. Beneficiaries also receive a STABLE Visa prepaid debit card to use for purchases by preloading money onto their cards. The money you withdraw and spend from your STABLE Account will also not face federal or state taxes when you use the funds to pay for qualified disability expenses.