In the past, many people with disabilities found themselves in a financially tough situation, wanting to save for their high costs in support expenses and future financial security, but not wanting to jeopardize their eligibility for critical public benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). This all changed in late 2018 when California started the California Achieving a Better Life Experience (CalABLE) Program. CalABLE allows qualified people with a disability to established a tax-advantaged savings account and save up to $15,000 a year with a max of $100,000 without losing vital public benefits. Contributions can be made by family members, friends and/or the individual themselves. Also, qualified individuals can manage their money on the CalABLE website, and have easy access to their funds by using the CalABLE Visa® Prepaid Card. Earnings in these accounts are not subject to federal or California state income tax, as long as they are spent on qualified disability expenses.
This program is a great win for all, and especially for people with disabilities and their families. Instead of being limited to only having $2,000 in savings and being prevented from preparing from the future, now qualified people with a disability can receive their essential benefits AND invest in their future financial security.
Who is eligible for CalABLE?
Any person who has the onset of a disability before age 26 may qualify if one of the following applies:
- Is eligible for benefits due to a disability, such as SSI or SSDI;
- Has a disability certification, including a physician signed copy of the diagnosis.
Full program details and enrollment instructions are available at the enrollment website at CalABLE.ca.gov.
If you’d like to volunteer to be an “ambassador” of this program, helping to spread the word to those living with a disability(ies) across the state, you can sign up here.