CalABLE Provides People with Disabilities a Path to Economic Security

CalABLE Provides People with Disabilities a Path to Economic Security

California’s Achieving a Better Life Experience (CalABLE) program is now open for enrollment! This is great news for hundreds of thousands of Californians with disabilities, as this program will empower them to save for their futures, without worrying that they’ll lose access to vital public programs.

 

Specifically, CalABLE will allow qualified people with a disability to establish a tax-advantaged savings account and save up to $15,000 a year with a max of $100,000 without losing critical public benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Contributions can be made by family members, friends and/or the individual themselves. Also, earnings in these accounts are not subject to federal or California state income tax, as long as they are spent on qualified disability expenses.

 

Until this program’s inception this past December 2018, individuals receiving federal benefits have been restricted in the amount of money they can save to $2,000, essentially keeping them in poverty and preventing them from planning for the future. With the Stephen Beck Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, signed into federal law in 2014 by former President Obama, these thresholds are no longer an obstacle now that CalABLE Program is officially open for enrollment.

 

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.

 

CalABLE has new enrollees joining each day. 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.

Our blogger Karen J. Fletcher is CHA's publications consultant. She provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare, health disparities and other health care issues. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she serves in health advocacy as a trainer and consultant. See her current articles.