Two-thousand dollars, that’s the limit of savings a person on Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) can have. If you put away more than that, or have assets over that amount that aren’t considered exempt, then you could lose your Social Security benefits. That’s a problem that many Oklahomans with disabilities have run into, but there might be a solution on the horizon.
Are ABLE Act Savings Accounts Finally Coming to Oklahoma?
Do you remember the story of the former student athlete who needed a van to get back and forth to school on time due to his disability? He couldn’t directly save for the van because of federals laws that prevent SSDI beneficiaries from saving over $2,000. He was able to circumvent this by clever thinking but if he had an ABLE savings account, he wouldn’t have needed to jump through so many logistical loops.
An ABLE account works similarly to a 529 college savings account. It allows people who collect SSDI benefits to save up to $100,000 tax free, and it won’t trigger the Social Security Administration’s $2,000 savings/assets limit. People who use these accounts can spend those savings on eligible expenses like housing, education and transportation. However, though this federal program was signed into law in 2014, Oklahoma has yet to open this service up to its residents.
You see, federal law allows these accounts, but it is up to the states to start the actual programs that will make these savings accounts happen. Because money has been tight in our state, Oklahoma hasn’t been able to cover the costs of enrollment… until now.
State Treasurer Ken Miller says that Oklahoma may soon be able to afford to start ABLE accounts here in Oklahoma. The state could possibly partner with other states and lower the overall cost of enrollment. Currently there is a 14-state consortium planning to begin an ABLE program in their states, and Oklahoma could join them.
Do you think Oklahoma should join the consortium to start ABLE act savings accounts? Will these accounts make life easier for people with disabilities? Voice your opinion on Twitter and Facebook. You can also monitor this story by following your Tulsa disability attorneys on our disability blog.