People who depend on the benefits they receive from the Social Security Administration (SSA) often feel that the program limits them. That’s because they can’t save more than $2,000 a year, or else they risk losing their benefits. This has been a problem for Oklahomans with disabilities for many year, but that might be changing. A new state savings program may provide an option to help people with disabilities save money and invest.
How Will Oklahoma’s STABLE Program Help People with Disabilities?
On May 31st, State Treasurer Ken Miller made an announcement at the State Capitol. He introduced the new STABLE program, which provided tax-advantaged savings accounts to Oklahomans with disabilities. These accounts will allow individuals with disabilities to save up to $15,000 a year without endangering their disability benefits.
Before this new program, people with disabilities risked losing eligibility for income, healthcare, food and housing assistance if they saved more than $2,000 in a year. This restriction often made it hard for some to live above the poverty line. This new program will allow these individuals to save funds that can be used for job training, medical bills, housing and more.
The framework for these accounts are based off the federal legislation known as the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. In 2016, the state legislature passed an amendment to the Internal Revenue Code that allowed Oklahoma to create its own ABLE program.
However, before people with disabilities can take advantage of the program, they have to meet certain requirements. To be qualified, their disability must have developed before the age of 26, and they cannot have another ABLE account. More eligibility requirements can be found at OKSTABLE.org.