Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Living Edition
| Editors: Fred R. Volkmar

Achieving a Better Life Experience Savings Account (ABLE Savings Account, ABLE Account, 529A Savings Plan, and 529A Account)

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6435-8_102513-1


An Achieving a Better Life Experience account (ABLE account) is a tax-advantaged savings account for qualified individuals with disabilities (often referred to as “accountholders” or “designated beneficiaries”) (Pub. L. No. 113–295 2014). ABLE accounts allow beneficiaries to save funds without losing their eligibility for state and federal government benefits programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Supplemental Security Disability Income (SSDI). ABLE account funds can be used for a broad range of health, wellness, and living expenses to support the beneficiary. ABLE accounts are sometimes referred to as “529A accounts” or “529A Savings Plans” because the ABLE Act amends Section 529 of the US Internal Revenue Code.

History of ABLE Accounts

The Stephen Beck Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act was signed into law on December 19, 2014. The US Congress has since amended the original ABLE Act by passing other...

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References and Reading

  1. Abbey, B., & Hershey, L. (2016). Does the ABLE Act enable the wealthy and disable the poor? Journal of Financial Service Professionals, 70(2), 46–52. Retrieved from https://www.emich.edu/cob/documents/2016_does_the_able_act_enable_the_wealthy_and_disable_the_poor.pdf
  2. ABLE National Resource Center. (2020a). Get started: Search by ABLE program features. https://www.ablenrc.org/state-plan-search/
  3. ABLE National Resource Center. (2020b). Get started: View all state programs. Retrieved from https://www.ablenrc.org/select-a-state-program/
  4. Alaska ABLE Plan: A member of the national ABLE alliance. (2020). Home. Retrieved from https://savewithable.com/ak/home.html
  5. Andersen, R., & Gary, S. (2018). Understanding trusts and estates (6th ed.). Durham: Carolina Academic Press.Google Scholar
  6. Stephen Beck, Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014, Pub. L. No. 113–295, 128 Stat. 4010, codified at 26 U.S.C. § 529A. Retrieved from https://www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/5771/text/enr?r=123
  7. Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, Pub. L. No 114–113, codified as amended at 26 U.S.C. § 529A. Retrieved from https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/2029/text
  8. Garner, B. (Ed.). (2019). Incapacity. Black’s Law Dictionary. 11th ed. St. Paul: Thomson/West.Google Scholar
  9. Hershey, L., & Kelly, A. (2019). Using Roth conversions of legacy retirement plans to fund special needs planning. Journal of Financial Service Professionals, 73(2), 80–88. Retrieved from https://www.emich.edu/cob/documents/2019_hershey_kelly.pdfGoogle Scholar
  10. Hershey, L., Kelly, A., & Abbey, B. (2017a). Disabling ABLE: Five possible pitfalls when implementing the ABLE Act. Journal of Financial Service Professionals, 71(2), 70–78. Retrieved from https://www.emich.edu/cob/documents/2017_disabling_able.pdfGoogle Scholar
  11. Hershey, L., Kelly, A., & Abbey, B. (2017b). Enabling ABLE: Five potential positives for implementing the ABLE Act. Journal of Financial Service Professionals, 71(2), 60–68. Retrieved from https://www.emich.edu/cob/documents/2017_enabling_able.pdf
  12. Illinois Able. (2020). Plan disclosure documents. Retrieved from https://cdn.unite529.com/jcdn/files/UABLE/pdfs/il-programdescription.pdf
  13. Iowa IAble. (2020). Qualified expenses withdrawal log. Retrieved from https://www.iable.gov/resources/qualified-expenses-withdrawal-log
  14. Kelly, A., & Hershey, L. (2018). A 50 state review of ABLE Act 529A accounts. Journal of Financial Service Professionals, 72(2), 69–84. Retrieved from https://www.emich.edu/cob/documents/a_50_state_review_of_able_act_ccounts.pdfGoogle Scholar
  15. Kohn, N., Blumenthal, J., & Campbell, A. (2013). Supported decision-making: A viable alternative to guardianship. Penn State Law Review, 117(4), 1111. http://www.pennstatelawreview.org/117/4%20Final/4-Kohn%20et%20al.%20(final)%20(rev2).pdfGoogle Scholar
  16. McGee, C., & Ferguson, G. (2017). A primer on ABLE accounts. University of Richmond Law Review, 52, 149–180. Retrieved from http://lawreview.richmond.edu/files/2017/11/McGee-521A.pdfGoogle Scholar
  17. Morris, M., Rodriguez, C., & Blanck, P. (2016). ABLE accounts: A down payment on freedom. Inclusion, 4(1), 21–29.  https://doi.org/10.1352/2326-6988-4.1.21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. National Council on Disability. (2018). Beyond guardianship: Toward alternatives that promote greater self-determination (pp. 145–152). Retrieved from https://ncd.gov/publications/2018/beyond-guardianship-toward-alternatives
  19. Parker, M. (2016). Getting the balance right: Conceptual considerations concerning legal capacity and supported decision-making. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, 13(3), 381–393.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11673-016-9727-z.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Rephan, D. A., & Groshek, J. (2016). ABLE Act accounts: Achieving a better life experience for individuals with disabilities with tax-preferred savings (and the old reliable special and supplemental needs trust). Mitchell Hamline Law Review, 42, 963. Retrieved from https://open.mitchellhamline.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1034&context=mhlrGoogle Scholar
  21. Stein, J., & Lipschutz, D. (2019). Surmounting barriers to Medicare-covered care: The Center for Medicare Advocacy offers advocacy suggestions for accessing medically necessary care via Medicare. Generations, 43, 4. Retrieved from https://www.jstor.org/stable/26908290
  22. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Pub. L. No. 115–97, codified as amended at 26 U.S.C. § 529A. Retrieved from https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1/text
  23. U.S. Internal Revenue Service. (2020a). ABLE accounts – Tax benefit for people with disabilities. Retrieved from https://www.irs.gov/government-entities/federal-state-local-governments/able-accounts-tax-benefit-for-people-with-disabilities
  24. U.S. Internal Revenue Service. (2020b). Instructions for forms 1099-QA and 5498-QA: Distributions from ABLE accounts and ABLE account contribution information. Retrieved from https://www.irs.gov/instructions/i1099qa
  25. U.S. Senate Committee on Finance. (2014, July 23). Saving for an uncertain future: How the ABLE Act can help people with disabilities and their families. Hearing No. 113–598. Retrieved from https://www.finance.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/937721.pdf
  26. U.S. Social Security Administration. (2020). Spotlight on achieving a better life experience (ABLE) accounts. Retrieved from https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/spotlights/spot-able.html

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Health and Human ServicesEastern Michigan UniversityYpsilantiUSA