WISE Webinar 2017-10: Achieving Financial Independence with Ticket to Work and an ABLE Account


>>Please use the Q&A pod to submit any questions
you have during the webinar, and we will direct those questions accordingly during the Q&A
portion. Just a reminder, we have a lot of people on
the phone today. We are expecting a good amount of questions. And we will do our best to get with you and
answer your questions as quickly as possible. But please bear with us that we might not
be ABLE to get to all of them. If you are listening by phone, and you are
not logged into the webinar, you may also ask questions by emailing those questions
to [email protected] Please note that the webinar is being recorded,
and the archive will be availABLE within two weeks on the Choose Work website at http://bit.ly/wisearchives. Technical Assistance. If you experience any technical assistance
during, I’m sorry, technical difficulties during the webinar, please use the question
and answer box to send a message, or you may email [email protected] So I want to welcome you all again for being
with us for this event today. I’m your moderator, Nancy Boutot, with NDI
consulting. And our presenters today are Christopher J.
Rodriguez from the National Disability Institute, and Elizabeth Jennings also with the National
Disability Institute. And I will introduce them in one moment. Our topics today are ABLE Basics, which include
their requirements, the impact on federal benefits, as well as setting up an ABLE account. We’re also going to talk about Social Security’s
Ticket to Work Program, tying it all together, additional resources, and then questions and
answers. So having said that, let me take a moment
and introduce our speakers. Chris Rodriguez is the Director of Public
Policy for National Disability Institute, and he is also the Director of the ABLE National
Resource Center. Chris has extensive experience working on
behalf of individuals with disabilities, both on state and national levels. Prior to joining NDI, Chris’s experience includes
governmental affairs and media relations. Chris has his bachelor’s degree in political
science, and his master’s degree in public affairs. Elizabeth Jennings is the Deputy Director
of National Disability Institute. Elizabeth is a National Trainer on Social
Security benefits and asset development strategies for persons with disabilities. She has implemented asset develop initiatives
across the country. Elizabeth is also the Assistant Director and
Training and Technical Assistance Director for the Lead Center funded by the Department
of Labor’s ODEP, Office of Disability and Employment Policy. And Elizabeth has her Masters of Applied Behavioral
Psychology, and she is also a Certified Community Work Incentive Counselor. So we’re very happy to have both of them with
us today. And without further ado, I will pass it on
to you, Elizabeth.>>Great. Thank you so much, Nancy. And welcome, everyone. It’s wonderful to be on the line with you
today. Usually I’m behind the scenes answering your
questions in the Q&A box. And it’s the best thing I do all month. So I hope you keep your questions coming in
today. I’ll be jumping into the Q&A box in a little
while. And if we don’t get to your question today,
we’ll be happy to hear from you on future webinars. So our goals today are to understand how the
ABLE Act and Social Security’s Ticket to Work Program can help you achieve financial independence
through work. And we’re going to help you to better understand
who can help you on your path to work, which is the second important component. And we’ve titled our topic today very strategically
that we’re going to talk about the ABLE accounts and the Ticket to Work Program, because together
they can help you to achieve the American dream and financial independence through employment. Now we understand when we talk about achieving
the American dream that that can mean different things to different people. So today we encourage you to think about your
own American dream. Does it include owning a home, having friends,
going on vacation, a big dream of mine, having reliable transportation, getting an education,
owning a business, supporting a family, and maybe into the distant future, having savings
from work to be able to retire and enjoy your life? Today we hope that you’ll take the time to
be thinking about your dream, and how the ABLE account and Ticket to Work, which we’ll
talk about later in the presentation, can help you to take the first steps to achieving
your American dream. Now prior to the ABLE account or ABLE Act,
there were very few ways to save money from working to achieve goals without the risk
of losing means-tested benefits. And some of you on the line may be joining
us today, because you have heard about these accounts, and are excited to have a way to
improve your financial stability, which you’ll be able to do with an ABLE account. And possibly gain improved physical and mental
health as a result of reduced financial stress, more choices about where to live, more opportunities
to meet people, and become part of your community, and be better off financially. So employment and an ABLE account are stepping
stones to financial independence, and to achieving your dreams. And I’m going to hand it off to Chris to talk
more about ABLE accounts.>>Okay. Thank you so much, Elizabeth. And thank you so much, Nancy, for including
me on this webinar today. I’m very excited to talk about all the potential
benefits that are associated with ABLE accounts. Elizabeth, I think you did a great job in
introducing some of the main components, or some of the main things that can help bolster
financial self-sufficiency and employment that can be found both through ABLE accounts
and certainly through the Ticket to Work Program. I want to go ahead and dive in here. I know that we’re going to go over a lot of
information. Don’t feel as though you need to really completely
absorb all of it. Like Nancy said previously, we’re going to
have this webinar archived. And I’m going to be giving out a number of
different resources where you can find more information about the slides that I’m going
to be presenting. Okay. So let’s get started here. The ABLE Act. Just a brief couple points about its history. The ABLE Act is actually called the Stephen
Beck, Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience Act. And what it does is, in its most basic sense,
it creates a new option for certain people with disabilities and their families to save
for their futures, while at the same time protecting eligibility for public benefits. Not the least of which, obviously, are Social
Security benefits and Medicaid. This particular piece of legislation was passed
into law, or signed into law, I should say, on December 19, 2014, after nearly a decade
of local, state and federal advocacy pushing this piece of legislation through the legislative
process so that people with disabilities could take advantage of the many benefits that are
associated with being an ABLE account owner. Okay. So what exactly is an ABLE account? Well, there are currently 28 programs enrolling
what are qualified individuals. And we’re going to talk a little bit more
about what exactly a qualified individual is in a little bit, and exactly what an ABLE
Program is. But some of the basic characteristics are
the fact that an ABLE account, they’re actually qualified savings or investment accounts,
that receive preferred federal tax treatment. They’re also sometimes referred to as 529A
accounts. So if you ever hear of an individual talking
about ABLE accounts, and they happen to refer to them as 529A accounts, don’t be confused. It’s just a different name for the exact same
thing. It actually is just talking about where that
particular piece of law is found within the tax code. So I don’t want that to throw anybody off. And they enable eligible individuals to save
for disability-related expenses. Now just given those two prongs that I discussed,
I know there’s a lot of kind of loaded phrases there, and we’re going to break those down
such as what is preferred federal tax treatment. What does that mean? What are disability-related expenses? And who exactly are eligible for these particular
accounts? And we’re going to dive into that in the next
few slides as well. I did mention that there are currently 28
ABLE Programs that exist. We obviously don’t have time to go over each
individual program. But you certainly can learn about how each
of those programs compare and contrast to each other by going to the ABLE National Resource
Center website at www.ablenrc.org/state-review. And there you can actually find a comparison
tool where you can compare up to three different ABLE Programs based on a number of different
characteristics that we think you might want to think about when choosing which ABLE Program
best meets your particular needs. Okay. Other characteristics of ABLE accounts. So it’s important to note that assets in an
ABLE account will be disregarded, or given special treatment, when determining eligibility
for most federal means-tested benefits. And, again, we’re going to talk about why
I say most federal means-tested benefits, as opposed to all federal means-tested benefits
in a little bit, because there is a very important caveat to that. Additionally, distributions for qualified
disability expenses will also be disregarded, or given special treatment, in determining
eligibility, again, for most federal means-tested benefits. And I say most, because there is one very
important exception that we’ll go over a little later in the presentation. So just to recap, assets, and so funds contributed
and funds held within an ABLE account, and distributions for qualified expenses both
are not taken into consideration when determining eligibility for most means-tested benefits. Okay. What are some important requirements of ABLE
accounts? And before we get into this list, I want folks
to understand that the things that we’re primarily going to be talking about when I describe
ABLE accounts today, these are going to be things that are going to be consistent across
all ABLE Programs. So I mentioned previously that there’s currently
28 ABLE Programs, and we expect to see more ABLE Programs pop up in the future. They do differ from one another in, what can
be subtle but yet important ways. However, the information that we’re providing
today are consistencies across all programs. These are things that are found in the federal
law. So no matter if you’re enrolled in the Ohio
ABLE Program or the Pennsylvania Program, these are going to be characteristics that
are going to be identical. So what are some of those characteristics? Well, each eligible person, or person with
a disability who is eligible to open up an ABLE account, is only allowed to have one
ABLE account per beneficiary. So that means if I open up an ABLE account
in Ohio, I can’t then again, while that one is still in existence, open up another one
in Pennsylvania. Then I would have two ABLE accounts. That is not allowed. You’re only allowed to have one ABLE account
at any given time. Additionally, the designated beneficiary is
the account owner. And this is very important. We wanted to create the law in this manner
so that an individual with a disability can exercise as much autonomy and authority over
their own funds as possible. This is in fairly strong contrast to other
types of savings or investment accounts that can protect assets from means-test benefits,
such as perhaps a special needs trust. That being said, if the designated beneficiary,
the person with a disability, either does not have the capacity to oversee their account,
or if they just want help with it, and they want to appoint somebody else to have authority
over their account, there are three other types of individuals that can be allowed to
have what’s called signature authority, or be ABLE to exercise authority over the account
on behalf of the designated beneficiary, the person with a disability. And those can be a parent of the beneficiary,
a guardian of the beneficiary, or a person who’s been given power of attorney by the
beneficiary. And even if that’s the case, the designated
beneficiary still continues to be the account owner. It’s just that another individual that meets
one of the three criteria I just described would be ABLE to have signature authority
or oversee the account on behalf of the person with a disability. Moving on. The states can choose to serve eligible individuals,
either nationally or only their state residents. So once this particular piece of legislation
was passed on the federal level, what that allowed the states to do is to build these
programs. The federal law, the ABLE Act, does not obligate
a state to build these programs, it just allows them to do so if they so choose. So states then had to pass their own ABLE-related
legislation to help get these states up and running. And, again, since the passage of the ABLE
Act back in late 2014 28 states plus the District of Columbia have launched their ABLE Programs. And of those the majority are enrolling eligible
individuals, regardless of whether or not they are residents of that particular state. However, there are a small number of states
that have excluded, or that have decided to only accept residents that are residents of
their particular state. And, again, you can always go to the ABLE
National Resource Center website to see which states are in-state programs, which states
are national programs, and which states, for whatever reason, either haven’t launched a
program quite yet or have decided not to. What are some more important requirements
of ABLE accounts? Well, there is a contribution limit. What this basically is it means that all contributions
made into an ABLE account, in any given tax year combined, are not allowed to exceed $14,000. So it’s important to note is anybody can contribute
into an individual’s ABLE account. That includes their friends, that includes
their family, that could mean their employer. And it certainly means the beneficiary or
the person with disability themselves can contribute into their own ABLE account. However, all the funds that are contributed
from all contributors combined, in any given tax year from January 1 to December 31st,
cannot exceed $14,000. So that’s something important to understand. In addition, I just mentioned all the different
types of individuals or entities that can contribute into an ABLE account. It’s also important to understand that contributions
can also include Social Security disability benefits, earnings from work, again, gifts
from family, friends and others. So you can really build a circle of support
of people who want to contribute, and want to help save for your future for the purposes
of disability-related expenses in a way that many individuals previously were not allowed
to do for fear of saving too much money, and then losing certain types of very vital supports
and services provided by federal means-tested programs. There is, in addition to that $14,000 annual
contribution cap from all contributors combined, there is a lifetime cap to a certain extent,
which just basically means that once the account hits this particular number, it can then no
longer receive any more deposits until it falls back below that. And that number is equal to whatever the 529
College Savings account cap is for the state in which the individual is enrolled in that
ABLE Program. That’s usually over $250,000. It can be as high as $550,000 depending on
what state you are enrolled in. This isn’t a strong consideration right now,
because, again, at $14,000 a year, even if you happen to be enrolled in a state with
an extremely modest cap, let’s say $250,000, it’s going to take quite some time to ever
get to that point in which you would want to have to pay attention to that particular
cap. And it’s important to note, additionally,
if you, you know, in the future if that happens to be a circumstance, you can always change
programs. You can do what’s called a program-to-program
transfer where you take the funds in one ABLE Program, and you transfer them into a different
ABLE Program that for whatever reason you feel more comfortable in. Okay. So we’ve reviewed a few of the different characteristics
related to ABLE accounts. We’ve talked a little bit about the history,
and the formal names, and this and that. Now one of the big questions, obviously, is
who exactly is eligible to open up these ABLE accounts? Why did I say that this is a savings or investment
account for certain individuals with disabilities, as opposed to all individuals with disabilities? Well, that’s because there are requirements
that need to be met in order to be allowed or eligible to open up an ABLE account. And we’re going to review those right now. They’re really broken down into two different
prongs. One relates to the age in which the individual
first experienced their disability. And what that particular requirement states
is the individual must have first experienced their disability or have an onset of disability
before their 26th birthday. So that’s important. If that is not the circumstance, then unfortunately
the individual would be disqualified or not allowed, under any circumstances at this point,
to open up an ABLE account. And that’s very unfortunate. And we’re actually working on getting that
age raised through some amendments with Congress. But there’s no telling, obviously, how long
that might take. Once that particular requirement is fulfilled,
it moves on to a second requirement. And this requirement relates to the severity
of that individual’s disability. And there’s a couple ways that you can satisfy
this particular requirement. The first being that if the individual, again,
who has determined to have had an onset of disability prior to their 26th birthday, is
also currently receiving benefits through either SSI or SSDI, meaning that the Social
Security Administration has determined that you meet those particular requirements in
order to be a beneficiary of those benefits, SSI or SSDI, then you’re set. You’re set to go. You can open up your ABLE account. Now what happens if you had an onset of disability
before age 26, but for whatever reason you’re not currently a beneficiary of SSI or SSDI? Perhaps you are awaiting a determination. Perhaps as a result of employment you make
too much money to be qualified for SSI or SSDI. Perhaps you have too many assets for whatever
reason. Perhaps you just weren’t interested in applying
for it. You can still be eligible to open up an ABLE
account. However, you would have to obtain what’s called
a disability certification. And this would include a physician’s diagnosis
that the individual meets certain severity criteria related to their disability. And we’re going to talk about that on the
next slide exactly what that disability certification looks like. So, again, there is an age requirement with
respect to the time in which the person first encountered, or first experienced, their disability. And that has to be before age 26. And there are these requirements related to
the severity of that disability. So let’s talk a little bit more about the
disability certification. So, again, a disability certification is a
physician’s note stating that your disability creates quote/unquote marked and severe functional
limitations or blindness. And this is something that you would need
to obtain the note from your physician, and keep in your records, keep in your own files. And you will then, when applying or when opening
up your ABLE account, will most likely be asked to certify under penalty of perjury
that you have obtained, and that you have that particular disability certification from
a physician with their signature. So that’s important. Again, if you’re already receiving SSI or
SSDI, and meet the age criteria, then you don’t have to worry about the disability certification. So that was a quick review of how one would
qualify, or be eligible, to open up an ABLE account. I just want to touch on something real quick,
so people completely understand the age requirement. This does not mean that you can’t be over
the age of 26, and open up an ABLE account. It just means that you would have had to first
experience your disability before age 26. So as a quick example, my brother, he lives
in Texas. He has significant disabilities. He’s on SSI. He’s 35 years old. He just opened up an ABLE account last year. He was 34, over the age of 26, but his disability
was a disability at birth so, obviously, before age 26. So despite the fact that he’s 34, 35 he could
still open that, because he met those other two criteria. Okay. So, again, we talked about some of the basic
components of ABLE accounts, and a little bit of the history. We’ve discussed who exactly is eligible to
open these accounts. Now one of the other big questions, obviously,
is, well, these funds contributed into a person’s ABLE account, what exactly can they be used
for? What do I mean when I say qualified disability
expense? Right? So what is a qualified disability expense? Well, that’s any expense related to the designated
beneficiary’s blindness or disability that is for the benefit of the person with a disability
themselves, and that helps that individual either maintain or improve his or her health,
independence or quality of life. That’s the definition of qualified disability
expense. And that’s what these funds that are contributed
into an ABLE account are allowed to be used for. So as you can imagine, that is an extremely
broad definition of what these funds can be used for. And we wanted to make sure that it was construed
broadly, because we appreciate the vast diversity of needs of people with disabilities, especially
those that have such a disability that meets the severity requirements that are associated
with the ABLE account. So digging a little bit deeper into what exactly
a disability expense or a qualified disability expense could be. The regulations and the rules that help people
better understand, and help ABLE Programs better understand, how these programs work
has gone so far saying that the term qualified disability expenses should again be broadly
understood to permit the inclusion of basic living expenses, and should not be limited
to things that may have a medical necessity, or expenses that provide no benefit to others
in addition to the benefit of the person, of the ABLE account owner or the eligible
individual. So it goes even further. It’s even broader than just the term qualified
disability expenses. It’s also important to note, especially for
folks on this webinar and people with disabilities in general, that funds in an ABLE account
can be used for employment-related expenses to help an ABLE account owner secure and maintain
employment. So funds from an ABLE account can be used
for those expenses. These may include, but certainly are not exclusively
for these next items, but could be, costs associated with certificates, accreditations
and/or job-related training. It could include employment training and supports. ABLE funds could be used for interview prep
and resume development. They could help with the cost of job coaching. And they could even help with costs related
to transportation to and from your place of employment. So I think this is just an example of a very
creative and interesting way that ABLE funds can be used to help people with disabilities
obtain and maintain employment. Some other examples of what I call kind of
buckets or categories that a qualified disability expense could fall under include assistive
technology, education, expenses for oversight and monitoring, financial management, education
and assistance, health prevention and wellness, housing, disability-related housing modifications,
personal support services, transportation, basic living expenses, funeral and burial
expenses, legal fees. And then they even include this catch-all
that is other expenses approved by the Secretary of the Treasury under regulations consistent
with the purpose of the program. So, as you can see, an incredibly wide variance
of different things ABLE, excuse me, qualified disability expenses that these funds can be
used for. And it’s important to note that Congress set
out to create this savings or investment account that supplements, but does not supplant, other
supports already provided. And that’s something important. Additionally, kind of on the flip side, it’s
incredibly important to understand that if individuals do, in fact, misuse the funds
or use the funds in the ABLE account for non-qualified expenses, they can be subject to penalties
including ineligibility for federal means-tested benefits. So it is important that, while these are extremely
broad definitions, that the individual does understand what these funds can be used for
in a manner in which will not jeopardize their eligibility for things like Medicaid or SSI
or HUD or SNAP, or things of that nature so.>>Hey, Chris?>>Yes.>>While you’re flipping slides there, I have
some questions that came in that I thought it would be good to answer now, because it
was directly related to what you were just talking about.>>Sure.>>So one of the questions was is there a
generic form for the certified disability, or does your doctor write a note? How does that work?>>Right. Yeah. That’s a great question. So to back up just briefly, the department
that’s tasked with making sure that these accounts are being used under the umbrella
of the law, making sure that they’re within the confines of how they’re supposed to be
used, is actually the Department of Treasury. Under them is the IRS. So it’s their responsibility to make sure
people are using these accounts appropriately, and making sure that the funds are being spent
on what they should be spent, which is qualified disability expenses, and that the individual
is in fact eligible to open up these accounts. The IRS and Treasury have not provided any
form that you would have to give to a physician to fill out. It’s something that the doctor would have
to certify. And we can always give individuals the language
that’s under the law that the individual would need to meet in order to qualify, and in order
to satisfy the term disability certification. So to answer, no, there is not a set form. We’re working on one. We have one drafted. But we’re still trying to get the approval
of Treasury to make sure it’s something that they would approve, so that if the IRS or
Treasury in any circumstance ever audited an account owner who happened to be utilizing
the disability certification, that it would in fact be acceptable.>>Okay. Great. So that I think partially answers another
question that came in which is just when you do have record of that disability, does it
need to be renewed? And my guess is probably not now, but that
may be at some point when they establish some more guidance.>>Right. Right. That’s accurate. So that’s actually something that’s up to
each state program. They can determine when an individual would
need to again certify or renew their eligibility.>>Okay. Great. And then a couple other questions were regarding
spending. So one was can ABLE funds be used to purchase
a house or a vehicle?>>So the only individual that can actually
determine whether something is or is not a qualified disability expense would be the
individual from the IRS. That’s their job. But what I can say is that, or I can give
you a recommendation on what I tell, my parents have signature authority over my brother’s
ABLE account. And I tell them for record keeping purposes
to keep the receipt of whatever the expense is. And to jot down, it doesn’t have to be exhaustive,
but how that particular expense is disability-related, and how it helps my brother, T.J., increase
or maintain his health, independence or quality of life. So as a quick example, my brother does equestrian
horseback riding. Therapeutic equestrian horseback riding helps
with his mobility issues, because it helps strengthen his core in a way that he doesn’t
have the dexterity to exercise like at a typical gym, typical exercises. And we can use ABLE funds to help pay for
that, because it’s not paid by Medicaid. And it’s fairly expensive. So I can contribute into his ABLE account. And he can use that for his horseback riding
therapies. Now when that happens is, I tell my mom or
I recommend to my mom, keep the receipt, record the receipt, and jot down briefly how the
equestrian therapeutic horseback riding helps my brother increase or maintain his health,
independence or quality of life. So she jots down, you know, T.J. has mobility
issues, and is having issues walking. Horseback riding helps increase his core stability. And as a result he is more independent, because
he is having an easier time walking. So that if they’re ever audited, they can
give that to the auditor, and that individual can observe or see in the description how
that particular expense helps my brother maintain or increase his health, independence or quality
of life.>>Great. And then just to clarify, because I think
you answered the last question I was going to ask you for right now, which is the expenses
don’t necessarily need to be reported. But everything should be kept with the family
in terms of receipt and description in case there is ever an audit, and they need to report
that.>>Correct.>>Okay. All right. Wonderful. Well, great. I just didn’t want that to get too far away
from us. And I know you’ve got several more slides
to cover. So I’ll turn it back over to you. Thanks.>>Okay. No problem. All right. Now I want to move in to talk a little bit
about ABLE accounts and federal benefits. So one of the greatest things about having
an ABLE account is the fact, again, that funds contributed into an ABLE account, held in
an ABLE account, and funds dispersed for the purposes of qualified disability-related expenses
are not taken into consideration when determining eligibility for most federal means-tested
benefits. And that’s a huge, huge benefit to people
with disabilities that many individuals with disabilities in the past have never been able
to appreciate, because they’ve relied on very vital supports and services provided by various
programs that have asset limits. And if they save even the most modest of funds
for their future, they could risk being kicked off and losing the supports and services that
oftentimes help them live independent and productive lives in the community. So the reason that I said in the beginning
of the presentation that the funds in the account are disregarded for most federal means-tested
benefits, as opposed to all, is because there is one exception. And that relates to ABLE account owners who
are also beneficiaries of SSI, Supplemental Security Income. And what the law says is that only the first
$100,000 in an ABLE account will be disregarded when determining benefits under SSI. So funds over $100,000 will be treated as
a resource with respect only to the SSI Program. And it’s important to note, and this gets
a little confusing, it doesn’t jeopardize your eligibility. But what it will do is once the account breaches
or goes over $100,000, your SSI benefits’ payment, that cash benefit that is associated
with being an SSI beneficiary, will be suspended until such time as the balance falls back
below that $100,000 threshold. However, even if that takes place, a couple
things. Number one, you’re still considered eligible
for SSI. Your eligibility has not been taken away,
nor are any other benefits associated with being an SSI beneficiary, including, and most
importantly probably, Medicaid. Right? And we’re going to talk a little bit more
about that on the next slide. And this is inevitable. You could have $120,000 in an ABLE account,
and be an SSI beneficiary, it’s just you would not be receiving that cash benefit. And you could be in that status for years
and years and years. It’s not as though after 12 months then you
get kicked off of eligibility, and then you have to reapply or anything like that. It just lasts indefinitely, again, until such
time as the count falls back below $100,000. Additionally, housing expenses receive the
same treatment as all housing costs paid by outside sources. Although new Social Security instructions
will treat housing expenses as resources only if distributed in one month, and held until
the following month. Right? So what this basically means is you can certainly
pay for housing-related expenses, such as rent, mortgage, things like that, with ABLE
funds. However, you need to take the ABLE funds out
of the ABLE account, and pay for that particular housing expense within the same month, or
else they will be counted as a resource, and could affect your SSI cash benefit in terms
of being considered in-kind support and maintenance. Okay. How do ABLE account assets affect eligibility
for Medicaid? Well, ABLE assets in their entirety, no matter
how much money you have in an ABLE account, every dollar is disregarded in determining
not only your eligibility for Medicaid, but the scope of supports and services that are
provided through the Medicaid Program. This is true even if you access Medicaid through
your eligibility for SSI, and you have more than $100,000. In that circumstance, your SSI cash benefit
would be suspended. But your Medicaid would still be intact. That’s an important thing to understand. In addition to that, Medicaid Programs are
not allowed to look at your ABLE account and say, “Well, okay, you have $75,000 in your
ABLE account. And, therefore, we’re going to pull back the
number of hours of a certain support or service that you have.” That’s not allowed. So, again, all assets in an ABLE account,
including earnings and including disbursements for qualified expenses, are disregarded when
determining, one, eligibility for the Medicaid Program, and scope of services provided through
the Medicaid Program. So those are two very, very important things
to understand. Okay. Another big question. So this is an important thing that folks need
to know about, and probably one of the more largely criticized aspects of an ABLE account. And this is referred to as a Medicaid payback
provision that’s within the ABLE Act. And what it says is if there are any assets
in the ABLE account when the beneficiary passes away, the assets in the ABLE account can be
used to reimburse a state for Medicaid payments made on behalf of the beneficiary starting
at the point in which the ABLE account was originally opened. So that means that an ABLE account is an incredibly
affordable way to protect assets in terms of being able to save for your future without
jeopardizing means-tested benefits. However, it’s not the best tool if your goal
is wealth transfer. Then may be a third party special needs trust
might be a better avenue to take. So that’s something that individuals need
to take into consideration when determining which of a number of different tools can best
pave a way to the most sound financial future for them. And we’ll talk a little bit more about ABLE
accounts and special needs trusts here in a little bit. In addition, just to go more specifically
into this Medicaid payback provision, the state in which is providing the Medicaid services
to the ABLE account owner has to file a claim to reimburse those funds. Right? And the federal law does not mandate them
to file a claim. It allows them to do so, which is interesting. And as a result, some states have passed state
legislation saying that if you are receiving Medicaid supports and services in their state,
and you’re enrolled in their ABLE Program, when you pass away they will not file a claim. So that’s something to look at when determining,
you know, different aspects of one ABLE Program from another, and might be an incentive to
enroll in your state’s ABLE Program, if your state has passed a law like that, and if that’s
something that interests you. So that’s something certainly that folks should
think about, and take into consideration. Okay. While the ABLE act itself, the federal law
and the contacts around it that was written by Congress, states that funds in an ABLE
account will not be taken into consideration when determining eligibility for means-tested
benefits. We are still encouraging every single department
and agency within the federal government that oversees any means-tested program to put out
guidance that reaffirms that funds in that account will not jeopardize eligibility for
their particular program. So to date we’ve seen the USDA, the United
States Department of Agriculture, who oversees the SNAP Program, come out and say, yes, in
fact, we completely understand. ABLE funds do not affect eligibility for SNAP
benefits. So we’ve seen that. Medicaid just recently came out with their
guidance, again, affirming that funds in an ABLE account will not be taken into consideration
when determining eligibility, or, again, scope of services and supports provided through
the Medicaid Program. We’re still working with HUD to try and encourage
them to get guidance out reaffirming that funds in an ABLE account will not affect Section
8 Housing. And we’re also currently working with the
Department of Education to make sure that they put out additional guidance with respect
to the various programs that they run that take into consideration an individual’s resources. Just because we don’t have guidance from an
individual department does not mean that funds in an ABLE account will be taken into consideration,
because that would be contradictory to what the law says. We just encourage them to reiterate. It helps get information out there down to
their state and local offices. And it’s a document. It’s a federal document that people can point
to if they ever have any issues. So we are currently working on that. Tax Treatment. I refer to these accounts as tax advantage
savings accounts. What exactly does that mean? Well, it means that funds in an ABLE account
they are actually invested in many circumstances, and their earnings grow tax free and are tax
exempt. That being said, contributions to an ABLE
account must be made with post-tax dollars. So it’s not like a 401(k) where the dollars
go in pre-tax. All the contributions into an ABLE account
must be done with post-tax dollars. And there’s no tax deduction associated with
respect to federal income tax deductions or credits. However, some states that have state income
tax have elected to provide for state income tax deductions or credits. And those are some of the states that have
implemented that. And you can see that up on your screen right
now. Several states have done that in order to
incentivize folks, residents of their own state, to enroll in their state’s program. So, quickly, where a lot of questions get
asked about. Well, you know, what are the compare and contrasts
about ABLE accounts and special needs trusts? So we just put down a few right here. Both are excluded from eligibility determinations
for SSI and Medicaid. So funds in both of those types of vehicles
do that. However, there are no limitations on contributions
to special needs trusts, or the number of special needs trusts a beneficiary can have. Whereas an ABLE account you can only have
one ABLE account per beneficiary. And, again, you can only deposit $14,000 per
year in an ABLE account. And it does have that $100,000 threshold for
suspension of SSI cash benefits. ABLE accounts grow tax free, while as income
from special needs trusts is taxable. The start-up costs of a special needs trust
may be over $1,000 in legal fees. Whereas opposed to ABLE accounts where the
start-up costs are extremely minimal, and oftentimes are associated with fees no larger
than, you know, $2.50 a month kind of stuff. And it’s important to note that there’s no
reason why you can’t, if you have the means to do so and feel comfortable doing so, have
both a special needs trust and an ABLE account. And, in fact, in many circumstances we’ve
made the case that the benefits that can be realized by having both a special needs trust
and an ABLE account outweigh the benefits of having either one independently. So that’s something that folks can take into
consideration as well. Again, what money can I save in my ABLE account? Again, gifts from friends and family, earned
income tax credit refunds, Social Security Disability insurance benefits, distributions
from a special needs trust or pooled trust can be put into an ABLE account, savings from
an employer, bonuses from an employer, contributions from an employer. All these funds can be contributed into a
person’s ABLE account. However, again, as long as they don’t exceed
that $14,000 annual contribution limit. Okay. Choosing the right ABLE Program. We’re going to go through this pretty quickly,
because, again, you can always go to the website. And we have all this information up there
as well. But, like I said previously, a lot of the
information we’ve talked about in this presentation with respect to ABLE are consistencies across
all ABLE Programs. However, there are subtle, yet what can be
important, differentiations from one program to another that can help an individual determine
which program best meets their needs. So what are some of the questions that a person
might want to ask themselves when choosing one ABLE Program over another? Well, does your state have an ABLE Program? If so, is there a tax deduction related or
associated with contributions made to your in-state program? What is the initial minimum contribution? Are their subsequent minimum contributions
to the account? Are there annual or monthly fees associated
with maintaining the account? Is there perhaps a debit card available or
associated with the account so that an individual can have greater access to the funds in the
account? What are the various investment options associated
with the account? Again, like I said previously, these are described
as savings accounts. But what they really are they’re really investment
accounts. And when enrolling in these programs, the
beneficiary, or the person with signature authority who’s setting up the account, will
be asked to choose a particular investment option. And different programs have different, not
only different investment options, but different numbers of investment options. So that’s something that you’d want to take
a look at as well. In terms of how do you actually set up your
ABLE account, we have what’s called “The Road Map to Enrollment” on our website. Again, the website is www.ablenrc.org. It takes you through a lot of the different
components that we discussed today, but in greater detail. It provides those in videos and webinars and
examples. It has, again, a comparison tool where you
can compare one ABLE Program to another ABLE Program based on about 12 different characteristics
that we think somebody might be interested in looking at when determining which program
best meets their needs. Again, the websites are there. The particular domain addresses are there. And I think, lastly, we just wanted to give
a quick plug to the ABLE National Resource Center. The ABLE National Resource Center is a collaborative
whose supporters share the goal of accelerating the design and availability of ABLE accounts
for the benefit of individuals with disabilities and their families. The ABLE National Resource Center was founded
and is managed by the National Disability Institute, and is really comprised of over
25 of the nation’s most largest disability-related advocacy organizations, all working together
to make sure that the dream of ABLE becomes a reality that can really benefit people with
disabilities. And there on your screen is my contact information,
as well as Heather Sachs, who’s our Senior ABLE Advisor, her contact information. Please feel free to reach out if you have
any ABLE-related questions. You can also submit questions on the ABLE
National Resource Center website. And those go directly to me. Okay. That was a lot of information. Right now I want to turn it over, or turn
it back to Elizabeth, who’s going to talk a little bit about, among other things, the
Social Security Ticket to Work Program.>>Hey, Chris, thanks. This is actually Nancy first. And I have a couple questions that came in
that I’d like to ask you before we turn it over to Elizabeth. The first is can you repeat what public benefits
counts ABLE funds?>>Right. So the only federally-funded means-tested
program that takes into consideration ABLE funds is the Supplemental Security Income
Program, the SSI Program. And that’s only under the consideration that
the account has more than $100,000 in it. So all other federally-funded means-tested
programs, such as the SNAP Program, such as Section 8 Housing, such as Medicaid, such
as FAFSA under the Department of Education. Those are all federally-funded means-tested
benefit programs that should disregard funds in an ABLE account when determining eligibility
for their programs.>>Great. Thank you very much. And then one more question before we turn
it over to Elizabeth. We had several questions that came in about
people who may be unable to effectively manage their money. And when that’s the case, do ABLE Programs
offer options for supports to assist people with the account?>>Right. So ABLE Programs themselves are talking about
providing various types of financial literacy to account owners to help them understand
how to manage their accounts. However, from a legal perspective only those
three different types of entities, or three different types of individuals that I mentioned
previously, would have the authority to actually manage the account on behalf of the person
with a disability, on behalf of the ABLE beneficiary, again, which are the parent, the beneficiary’s
guardian, or a person that’s been granted power of attorney by the beneficiary.>>Great. Thank you. I think that just answered several people’s
questions. I appreciate that. Chris, thank you so, so much. I do have more questions for you. But I also want to make sure that we give
Elizabeth a chance to speak. So I know that you’ll be with us till the
end. And we might have some more questions for
you. So thank you and, Elizabeth, we will now turn
it over to you.>>Great. Thank you so much, Chris. That was great information. We had a lot of great questions in the Q&A
box. But we want to take a few minutes to talk
about how this all works together–ABLE, employment, Social Security, Ticket to Work Program, and,
of course, each of you and the goals that you have for yourselves. So the first step, now that you know that
there’s a pathway to saving money towards your goal, is to have a way that you can fund
that goal. And while there’s not one strategy for achieving
the American dream, the first step for many is getting a job working, and having money
to save to achieve your goals. One of the ways you can do that is through
the Ticket to Work Program. For those of you who haven’t been on a WISE
webinar in the past, we want to make sure you know that the Ticket to Work Program is
Social Security’s national employment program. It supports career development for people
with disabilities who want to work. It’s for Social Security disability beneficiaries
ages 18 through 64. So folks who receive an SSDI, Social Security
Disability Insurance, or an SSI, Supplemental Security Income benefit. And the Ticket to Work Program is free and
voluntary. You may be wondering how does the Ticket to
Work Program work? So, first, you choose your provider from more
than 500 employment networks, they’re called ENs, and state vocational rehabilitation agencies. When you choose an EN or a state VR agency,
you will work with them to create a plan for employment that describes the services and
the supports that you need to meet your work goal. There is an expectation when you participate
in the Ticket to Work Program that you will work at a level where you will reduce, and
when possible eliminate your need for, Social Security benefit payments by replacing them
with earnings from your work. And while that may sound scary to some folks
on the line, remember that part of the Ticket to Work Program is being connected with benefits
advisement. And that’s a way that you’ll learn about the
impact of earned income on your Social Security benefits, as well as the work incentives that
are available to you to help you to maintain some or all of your cash benefits as you work
with your employment network or state VR agency to proceed through a plan where you may come
off of the [inaudible] of your own choosing, and of your own volition, that you are working
towards other goals and increasing your income. So over time you will earn more, you will
save more, and have a protected savings opportunity in the ABLE account gaining greater financial
stability and greater security. And, hopefully, achieving your goal. So let’s talk a little bit deeper about what
an employment network is, and what a state VR agency is. So an EN is a private or public organization
that contracts with the Social Security Administration to provide free employment support services
to people who are eligible for the Ticket Program. So these public and private organizations
demonstrate to the Social Security Administration that they have a history, and they have an
ability, they have the experience, the success in supporting people in making the return
to work. In each of your local areas you have American
Job Centers, sometimes called Workforce Centers, and these are part of the state’s public workforce
system. And many of them have signed up to become
workforce ENs. So when you enter a place like your local
Workforce Center, and they’re asking you questions about whether or not you have a disability,
they can be striving to connect you to the Ticket to Work Program. And there may be additional supports and services
that are available for you there. A state VR agency can operate as an employment
network, but is slightly different. It furnishes a wide variety of services to
help people with disabilities return to work, enter new lines of work, or enter the workforce
for the first time. Every state has a state VR agency. In each state they are essentially the entity
responsible for helping people with disabilities obtain, maintain or retain employment. In some states there’s a separate VR agency
that serves individuals who are blind and visually impaired. So as you seek out which you’re going to work
with, an employment network or a state VR agency, you want to be asking them questions
about their ability to support you in meeting meeting your needs. And, in that vein, you want to be thinking
about some of these services you may need from this EN or VR. They often provide a different range of services. Career planning or counseling is pretty consistent. Job search and job placement assistance also
very consistent. But VR agencies may also provide training
programs separate from what an EN may provide. And some ENs, and sometimes VR, offer special
programs for veterans and youth in transition. You want to ask questions about services like
ongoing employment support. Or if you need additional support on the job
as your starting a job, you’ll want to ask about that as well, along with assistance
with accommodations, benefits and work incentives counseling. And these are some services that the EN or
VR may provide. And you’ll want to be thinking about other
services that you also may need in your return to work. This is really all about you having choice
in who you go to for your return to work services. So it’s okay to have a list. It’s okay to be very thoughtful. It’s okay to be choosy. That’s the point of the program. So how can you get started? Where can you find assistance? You can start by visiting the Choose Work
website, at choosework.ssa.gov/findhelp/, to start searching for the right service provider
for you. Through this tool you can search by zip code,
you can search by services offered, disability type, languages spoken, which could be very
helpful, or you can also search, excuse me, by provider type. Are you looking for an EN, a workforce EN,
your state VR agency? Are you wanting to first find out about your
work incentives, and you want to connect with the Work Incentives Planning and Assistance? Or maybe you’re having a hard time getting
services, and you want to connect with Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security. No matter what you’re searching for this can
be a great first step going to choosework.ssa.gov/findhelp/. So let’s just take a minute to tie it all
together. So you want to get started on this journey. And I want to congratulate all of you for
joining today. And some of you I’ve seen on many WISE webinars. It’s a really great opportunity to get information,
and to get answers to some of the questions that you have. And we want to make sure that you have those
answers, because only you can decide if work is the right choice for you. And we understand that it’s a big decision. It requires understanding how work may affect
your Social Security disability benefits, and other benefits that you may receive. And it does require support in finding and
keeping a job. So the WISE webinars and the Ticket to Work
Help Line are here to provide you some of that information. Of course, we think that work has a lot of
benefits including increased income. It offers a routine which gives you some new
stability in your life, a place to meet new people, and make connections, a chance to
learn new skills, increase income, which can lead to more financial independence. And, of course, all of that can provide all
of us a better future for ourselves. So I want to encourage you to take the next
step. Today was a great start in gathering information
and resources, as that’s really the key to planning your journey toward employment and
financial independence. The Ticket to Work and Work Incentives combined
with ABLE can help make your journey into the future a smooth one. And if you didn’t get all of the answers to
your questions today, I want to encourage you to join us for the next WISE webinar. And you can also visit archives of the WISE
webinars at the Choose Work website. So if you’re ready to get started, and take
advantage of the resources we talked about today, we’re here to help you succeed in reaching
your work goals. You can start by calling the Ticket to Work
Help Line, which I know many of you have gotten in the Q&A box today. The Ticket to Work Help Line phone number
is 1-866-968-7842. Or if you choose TTY, it’s 1-866-833-2967. You can also visit www.ssa.gov/work. And I’ll hand it back–>>Thank you.>>To Nancy. Thank you.>>Thank You, Elizabeth. That was great information. And we have some questions that came in for
you, as well as some questions that came in for Chris. So I think I’ll ask you some questions first
based on what you just talked about. And the first question, it’s kind of ABLE
related and employment network related. Do any employment networks provide financial
education to help me choose investment options for an ABLE account?>>That’s a great question to ask an employment
network as you’re starting to meet with them. There are some employment networks that provide
financial education, if that’s what you’re looking for. And then you can also use a tool on the ABLE
National Resource Center that can help you choose between ABLE accounts, so that you
can make a decision about which ABLE Program is going to be the right one for you.>>Great. Thanks. And then another EN question. Are there any ENs, or vocational rehabilitation
agencies, who can help me become self-employed?>>That’s a great question. Yes. So a lot of folks don’t know that your state
VR agency can help you with self-employment, and the Commission for the Blind, or the state
blind agencies if your state uses a separate agency, have historically done an excellent
job in supporting people with self-employment. So you can check out your state VR agency. But you can also explore this with employment
networks. And as you look at different employment networks,
you may be able to assess in their title if they are a group that does self-employment. But you can also call ENs that are serving
your area, and ask that question. Remember when you’re exploring which is the
right EN for you, it’s your choice. So getting your questions answered up front
is a good start. And it’s also a great way to tell is this
going to be a good entity to work with as far as how they do in answering your questions
before you join them.>>Great. Thanks. And then there’s a follow-up question to that
in terms of being self-employed, which is can I put my earnings from self-employment
into an ABLE account?>>You sure can. So I’ll jump in there, and then Chris may
want to add. You do want to remember anytime you have earnings,
and you get SSI or SSDI, your earnings may have an impact on your SSI and SSDI, even
if you put those earnings into an ABLE account. So we don’t want to, while we have a great
benefit in the fact that a gift can be put into an ABLE account and it won’t count against
your SSI. Your earned income will still count, even
if you put it into the ABLE account. But your self-employment earnings using an
ABLE account as a safe place to protect your savings, whether it may be from self-employment
earnings or from regular employment earnings, is a great idea.>>Great.>>Yeah. That’s absolutely correct. I think just to underscore or capitalize on
that, a lot of people get confused as to whether or not funds contributed as a result of employment,
so their compensation into an ABLE account, whether or not they will be counted as income
with respect to SGA, Substantial Gainful Activity, the answer is yes. So ABLE helps protect assets. But it does not protect earned income. So that’s certainly something that people
need to understand, and take into consideration.>>Great to know. Thanks, Chris. So, again, Chris, I think this one goes back
to you. And it’s can I put SSI money into my ABLE
account?>>The answer is, yes, you can put SSI funds
into your ABLE account. So–>>Okay.>>As an example, yeah, as example a lot of
individuals have found themselves in circumstances of paying for things that they don’t need
just so that they can keep under asset limits. I know a lot of people that I used to work
with on the state level who have disabilities, and also our beneficiaries of Medicaid and
Social Security, would have to do that. A lot of people, I think the term is spend
down, right, as opposed to spending down or spending the money on things you may not necessarily
need, you can put those funds into an ABLE account.>>Fantastic. Thank you. So another question is if a person has an
ABLE account in one state, but lives in another, and that’s where they use their Medicaid is
in that other state, which state is paid back when someone passes away?>>Right. So the state in which is providing that individual,
the ABLE beneficiary, with Medicaid supports and services is the state that would be responsible
for filing the claim, and that would be paid back. So as an example if I live in Pennsylvania,
and I’m receiving Medicaid supports and services through the state of Pennsylvania, but for
whatever reason I decided to open up an ABLE account in the state of Ohio, Ohio’s program,
and I passed away, the state in which I was receiving the Medicaid services, so that would
be Pennsylvania, would file a claim with the Ohio ABLE Program that’s providing me the
ABLE account for the funds that were spent on my Medicaid supports and services from
the point in which I opened the ABLE account.>>Great. That makes sense. Thank you. And the next question is you mentioned something
about favorable tax rules. Does a contributor to an ABLE account get
a federal tax deduction?>>Okay. So that’s a good question. So the contributor into a person’s ABLE account,
for the purposes of federal income tax, would not receive any type of deduction or credit
for their contribution into an ABLE account. However, that individual may live in a state
that also has state income tax, of which not every state does, but most do, and that state
may have passed a law stating that they will allow a certain deduction or credit with respect
to state income tax when contributions are made into an ABLE Program or an ABLE account. So on the federal level, no. On the state level, sometimes.>>Okay. Great. And here’s another good question. Why doesn’t my bank know about ABLE accounts?>>A great question. Why doesn’t your bank know about ABLE accounts? Well, they should. It’d be great if they did. We’re working with financial institutions
to try and get as much information about ABLE to as many different ABLE-related stakeholders
as possible. Probably the real reason is your brick-and-mortar
banks don’t have, at this time, a role in ABLE. Different ABLE Programs are established by
state departments, typically the state treasurer, Treasury Department is the one that the ABLE
program falls under. And then they contract with, not necessarily
a bank, but typically an investment entity, such as Blackrock or Fidelity or Vanguard. So they may know about it. But your more commonly used banks that do
kind of checking accounts and, of course, do other things as well, most likely at this
point aren’t aware of ABLE accounts. But we’re certainly reaching out to all financial
institutions to try and help educate them about ABLE.>>Great.>>Also, I would also add just really quickly,
because this is a point of confusion. Right now in order to open up an ABLE account,
and to manage your ABLE account, it’s actually all done online. So you wouldn’t go into your local Bank of
America brick-and-mortar and say, “Hey, I’d like to set up an ABLE account.” They wouldn’t know what you’re talking about,
nor would they be able to open up an account for you. This is all done online through the individual
state program’s website, in addition to be set up online, it’s also managed all online. And what that does is it helps bring the cost
down with respect to maintaining these accounts and accessing them.>>Fantastic. And since you just mentioned that brick-and-mortar,
I’ll ask one more question, Chris, before we move on. And then, hopefully, we’ll still have time
to get to a few more questions. But the question is my debit card charges
me a fee to use it. Are there fees for an ABLE debit card?>>So some programs I believe do have a fee
associated with utilizing a debit card or a prepaid card tool, and some do not. So that’s going to be one of those characteristics
that you’d want to look into when determining which ABLE Program best meets your needs. Number one, does the program have a debit
card or a reloadable card at all? And, two, if they do, is there a fee associated
with that? And does any of that matter to you? If you’re not planning on accessing the funds
often, so let’s say you’re a parent and you have a child with a disability, and you open
up an ABLE account, and you’re putting funds in there over a long period of time with the
expectation that you wouldn’t access those funds until perhaps the child reaches age
of majority, then you wouldn’t really take into consideration, it wouldn’t matter to
you whether or not there was a debit card associated with that program, because you
wouldn’t really be accessing the funds all that often. But perhaps you’re an adult with disabilities,
you have an ABLE account, and you have day-to-day or week-to-week disability-related expenses,
and you’re going to need quick and frequent access to the funds in an ABLE account, then
perhaps having a debit card or a reloadable card would be more significant to you. And that would be a stronger consideration.>>Great. Thank you so much, Chris. All right. I’m going to continue on to make sure that
we can get in the rest of our slides. Thank you to Elizabeth and to Chris. And, hopefully, when we get finished we will
have time for a few more questions. So I just wanted to point out some more resources
to our participants. And the first is the ABLE National Resource
Center. And we have both past webinars, as well as
upcoming webinars, that are listed on that website. And that website is www.ablenrc.org/webinars. And the ABLE National Resource Center also
has what they call “A Road Map to Enrollment” to answer specific questions about how to
enroll in an ALBE account. And you can get more information on that by
going to http://ablenrc.org/road-map-enrollment. And also National Disability Institute has
webinars on real economic impact, and various other webinars regarding the ABLE Act, and
also financial education. And you can access them by going to www.realeconomicimpact,
all one word, realeconomicimpact.org/resources/webinar-archive. And please subscribe to the Choose Work blog. You can learn more about the ABLE Act, Ticket
to Work, Work Incentives, job search tips, and much more. And you can sign up for email updates by going
to http://bit.ly/subscribecw. And that CW, again, stands for Choose Work. We want to make sure that you join us for
our next webinar. And I would like to point out to everybody
that our next webinar is going to be on Wednesday, November 15th. So it’ll be a week earlier than we typically
have our WISE webinars to adjust for the Thanksgiving holiday. So, again, it will be Wednesday, November
15th, 2017, from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time. And to register for that, and by the way the
topic is going to be Working for Yourself with Ticket to Work, so we’ll be talking more
about self-employment, and you can register online for that by going to choosework.ssa.gov/wise,
or you can call 1-866-968-7842, or 1-866-833-2967 for TTY users. So I think we do have a few more minutes before
we get into our final resource slides. So this goes back to I think Chris. And the question is will I lose my eligibility
for SSI if my regular bank account goes over $2,000?>>Will you lose your eligibility for SSI
if your just a regular bank account goes over $2,000?>>Right.>>Generally speaking, there is an asset limit
set at $2,000 for SSI beneficiaries. But there are various tools that would help
an individual get around that. Probably Elizabeth can speak to those better
than I could. It kind of depends on a circumstance or different
programs you might be in.>>Okay. So we’ll let Elizabeth answer that as well. But there was a second part to that question
that might be helpful with the answer, which is am I allowed to take some of the money
in my regular account, and put that into an ABLE account once I open one?>>Yes. You can transfer funds from your checking
account into your ABLE account. And you could even transfer funds from your
ABLE account into your checking account, so that you could use them as well.>>Okay. Great. Elizabeth, anything additional to add to that?>>And I’m so sorry, I was so busy in the
Q&A I [inaudible] the question.>>The question was will I lose my eligibility
for SSI if I go over my $2,000 in my regular account, not my ABLE account?>>That’s a great question. So you do run the risk of putting yourself
in jeopardy if you go over the $2000 asset limit in your general checking or, you know,
your general savings account. What you want to do is utilize the ABLE account
to be ABLE to save for long-term needs. So you might choose to keep a local savings
account that you’re going to use for immediate needs, or your checking account. But for that long-term savings you want to
be able to utilize your ABLE account, because into the ABLE account you can deposit $14,000
per year. If you’re on SSI, your maximum– [ Inaudible Speaker ] Is $100,000. But if you go over the $100,000, your benefits
are suspended. If you do that in your regular checking accounts,
savings account, you’re not going to be eligible for your SSI. And if you do that long-term, you run the
risk of jeopardizing your eligibility.>>Okay. Great. Thanks. So, Chris, when you were talking about transferring
funds another question came in. And that was can dollars from a special needs
trust be transferred into an ABLE account?>>Right. Absolutely. So funds from a special needs trust or a pooled
trust can be deposited, or can be transferred, into an ABLE account. But, again, so long as they don’t exceed that
$14,000 annual cap from all contributors combined. And I think that’s a great way to allow somebody
to exercise greater authority over their funds than they would otherwise have if they just
had a third party special needs trust.>>Great. Thank you very much again, Chris and Elizabeth. We appreciate all of this valuable information. So moving on, I just want to give everybody
a little bit more information. For more information on anything that we’ve
talked about, as you know we are going to have this presentation archived within two
weeks. You can also call the Ticket to Work Help
Line at 1-866-968-7842, or 1-866-833-2967 for TTY users. Or, of course, you can visit us at www.choosework,
I’m sorry, let me say that again. You can visit us at www.ssa.gov/work. We would also like to connect with you. You can connect with us by liking us on Facebook,
by going to www.facebook.com/choosework. You
can also follow us on Twitter. And that address is www.twitter.com/chooseworkssa. We also have a YouTube channel. So you can watch Ticket to Work videos on
YouTube by going to http://www.youtube.com/choosework. And, lastly, you
can follow us on LinkedIn by going to https://www.linkdin.com/company/ticket-to-work. All right. And I want to thank everybody very much for participating
today. And I’m just going to go to our last slide,
which is “Please tell us what you think.” And remember to take our webinar survey. So once we close out the webinar, a link will
pop up. And you can take the survey then, or you can– [ Inaudible Speaker ] Do it. I’m sorry. Somebody needs to mute please. You can also visit and do the survey by going
to choosework.ssa.gov/surveys/wise. Thank you all very much for your participation
today. And we will talk to you next month. Thank you.

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