By Melinda Burns, Director of Adult Education

  • A new tax-exempt way to save money for future needs
  • Available to all individuals with disabilities and their families 

What is an ABLE Account?

NY ABLE Accounts are a new opportunity to save money to supplement governmental and private benefits. NY ABLE encourages and assists individuals and families to save private funds in accounts. These funds are used to support individuals with disabilities to maintain good health, independence and a high quality of life. 

NY ABLE Accounts are intended to supplement benefits provided through Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), private insurance and other sources. NY ABLE accounts do not limit an individual’s ability to benefit from SSI, Medicaid, and certain other means-tested programs. NY ABLE Account balances under $100,000 are also exempt from taxes on earnings and distributions. The funds must be used for qualified disability expenses

What are “qualified disability expenses”? 

Expenses that are incurred as a result of living with a disability are considered “qualified disability expenses”. Some examples of qualified expenses include:

  • Education
  • Health and wellness
  • Housing and transportation
  • Financial management
  • Employment training and support
  • Assistive technology
  • Legal fees
  • Personal support services
  • Funeral and burial expenses

Who is eligible to open an ABLE Account?

To open an ABLE Account in New York an individual must be a NYS resident. In addition, the individual must be entitled to receive SSI or SSDI because of their disability and the disability must have been present before age 26.

Individuals who had a disability before age 26 and meet one of the following requirements are also eligible to open an ABLE account: 1.) have a written diagnosis from a licensed physician documenting a physical or mental impairment that results in functional limitations that will last at least a year, 2.) are blind or 3.) have a disability included on the Social Security Administration’s List of Compassionate Allowances Conditions. 

How does it work?

The eligible individual is the account owner and beneficiary. An authorized individual, e.g. parent, legal guardian or power of attorney, can also open an account on an individual’s behalf. 

If the individual is working, part of their income can be deposited into their ABLE account. Anyone can make contributions to the ABLE account. The maximum allowable annual contribution amount is $15,000. The maximum allowable account balance is $100,000. Withdrawals may be made as disability qualified expenses occur. 

Account deposits can be made online, by check, electronic funds transfers or payroll deduction. Withdrawals can be made by phone, online or with a NYABLE debit card or check.  

How do I open a NY ABLE account?

To enroll in NY ABLE, gather the following information: name, date of birth, Social Security number, phone number, basis of eligibility and category of disability. Use this information to complete the enrollment form, either online or in paper form. Next, choose an investment option for the account. Then get started with as little as $25. 

The following resources can provide more information to help you through the enrollment process: Website:  E-mail: Phone: 1-855-569-2253, Mon-Fri 8:00 a.m.- 8:00 p.m. 

Are other resources about ABLE accounts available? 

The following website is for the ABLE National Resource Center and managed by the National Disability Institute. The following website contains more in-depth information about ABLE accounts:

The above resources will help answer your questions about ABLE accounts. Wildwood will be offering an informational session about ABLE accounts this spring. 

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