Paying for medical care and accessibility services is a challenge for everyone, but especially for parents of disabled children. Modifying the home, providing educational opportunities for your child and obtaining the best medical care and services for your child is not cheap. What strategies are available for disabled adults, disabled children and their families?
What is an ABLE or STABLE Account?
Achieving a Better Life Experience, or “ABLE” accounts help individuals with disabilities create wealth and savings without jeopardizing their ability to qualify for state-assisted medical programs. An ABLE account helps young adults with a documented physical or cognitive disability to save thousands each year while still leaving the option to apply for Medicaid or Social Security disability income. In Kentucky, the total to set aside tax-free is $27,760, of which $15,000 can be a gift from family and loved ones, and $12,760 can be deposited from earned income. While money deposited into an ABLE savings account is tax-free, any money withdrawn must be spent on disability-related expenses. Qualified disability-related expenses include transportation, housing and upgrades to make a home more accessible, educational expenses and expenditures to further employment opportunities, in addition to basic living expenses. If money is withdrawn for an item that is not qualified, the recipient may have to pay a tax withdrawal penalty. In Kentucky, ABLE accounts have been branded STABLE accounts.
Qualifying for SSI Benefits
In addition to setting up an ABLE account or special needs trust, a loved one living with a disability may also qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. SSI is a federal administered program for eligible individuals including people over the age of 65 or young people living with a physical or cognitive disability. SSI is not automatically disbursed, instead the individual or their family caregiver can apply for benefits with the Social Security Administration. Unfortunately, the process is not always straightforward, and many people conflate SSI benefits with SSDI (Social Security Disability Income).
Call Northern Kentucky Elder Law and Special Needs Attorneys at Darpel Elder Law
Navigating a recent diagnosis or medical disability is challenging, without question. Balancing everyday life in addition to learning about what resources may be available to you can be overwhelming. Our attorneys Matthew Darpel and Chad Seiter are here to offer guidance and advice through each stage of the process, and can help you determine whether a Special Needs Trust may be right for your family member. Call today to schedule a comprehensive consultation.