Nicholas Hancart, a public affairs manager with the Ohio Treasurer’s Office, travels throughout Ohio to share information with professionals, families and other groups on the valuable impact that STABLE Accounts have for people with disabilities. Findlay Family talked with Hancart regarding this financial planning tool.
What is a STABLE Account?
The STABLE Account program, which is Ohio’s ABLE Plan, provides tax-advantaged savings and investment opportunities to individuals with disabilities without risk of losing means-tested benefits. Individuals can save above their resource limit for their needs, while still keeping their benefits. They can use the money in the account to pay for medical expenses related to their disability, not just medical, as well as for housing, transportation, education and basic living expenses.
How and why was STABLE established?
STABLE Accounts stem from the federal Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, a federal law passed in 2014, while the legislation which created Ohio’s own program was signed into law in 2015. The Treasurer of State’s Office launched STABLE Accounts on June 1, 2016, making Ohio the first state in the nation with an ABLE Plan. The program spans nationwide, which means citizens from any state have the opportunity to participate.
Who administers the program and how does it operate?
The STABLE Account program is administered by the Ohio Treasurer, Robert Sprague’s office. An in-office team helps to ensure the program’s continued growth and success by spreading the word and educating citizens.
Who is eligible to set up an account and what are the specific requirements?
Enrollment is conducted 100 percent online at stableaccount.com. An “Eligible Individual” is someone whose disability began before the age of 26, has been living with their disability for at least one year, or expects their disability to last for at least one year. An individual must either: 1. be eligible for SSI or SSDI; or 2. have a condition listed on the Social Security Administration’s List of Compassionate Allowances Conditions; or 3. self-certify their diagnosis. There is no cost for enrollment but an opening balance of $50 is required.
What are the benefits to establishing a STABLE account?
The biggest benefit of STABLE Accounts is that families are now able to save above their resource limit to provide for their needs, while still keeping their benefits. Essentially, a STABLE Account eliminates the need for what is typically called a monthly “spend-down.” An eligible individual also can open and administer their own account if they are able to do so. STABLE Accounts provide families with an avenue for long-term saving and investing that may not have been previously available. Anyone can contribute to a STABLE Account, and everybody that does contribute can take advantage of a state income tax deduction. Ohio residents can contribute up to $4,000 within a calendar year.
The State Treasurer’s STABLE team is always looking
to provide more information or speak at events.
Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 1-800-439-1653.