The third in a four-part series: ABLE Accounts—Are They for Me? Series.
This month, the Free Bridges Helpdesk Transition Tip Tuesdays explores ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) accounts so that you can decide if they would work for you and your needs. In this third installment of the series, we learn how much can be added to and kept in an ABLE account as well as how you can open an ABLE account.
April: ABLE Accounts—Are They for Me? Series
Part 1: What are ABLE Accounts, and What Are the Benefits? (April 6)
Part 2: Who Qualifies for an ABLE Account, and How Can Funds Be Spent? (April 13)
Part 3: How Much Can Go into an ABLE Account, and How Can I Set One Up? (April 20)
Part 4: Other Important Information about ABLE Accounts (April 27)
How much money can go into an ABLE account?
All ABLE accounts have an annual contribution limit ($15,000 in 2021). You may contribute less than this amount, but you may not contribute more in a single year. This amount is tied to federal gift tax exemption, and it does increase by $1,000 every few years.
Special additional annual contributions
In addition to the annual limit (currently $15,000), some ABLE account owners may make additional annual contributions under the ABLE to Work Act. The additional contributions are permitted when the ABLE account owner is employed and is not participating in an employer-sponsored retirement plan. That working individual may contribute an additional amount equal to the lesser of that person’s gross income that year or the federal poverty level (in 2021, $12,760 in Maryland and most other states). In other words, an individual with an ABLE account can save up to $12,760 in addition to the $15,000 annual contribution limit per year.
ABLE accounts can exceed $100,000. For example, the account limit for Maryland ABLE plans is $500,000.
However, for purposes of SSI eligibility, only $100,000 of the funds in the ABLE account are excluded from resources. Amounts over $100,000 will count toward resources (which are capped at $2,000 for individuals) for SSI eligibility determinations.
How do I set up an ABLE account?
Here is the link to set up Maryland ABLE accounts can be set up online. Alternatively, you may call 1-855-563-2253 or 1-844-888-2253 (TTY) for help setting up a Maryland ABLE account.
You’ll need some information (date of birth, address and Social Security Number for the beneficiary and Authorized Legal Representative (if any). If there is an ALR for a beneficiary over age 18, you’ll also need documentation of Power of Attorney, Legal Guardianship or Conservatorship. If you want to transfer funds from a bank account electronically, you’ll want to have that bank information as well.
For more information, please reach out to the Free Bridges Transition Helpdesk.
The Free Bridges Helpdesk will wrap up our ABLE Accounts—Are They for Me? Series with the Transition Tip Tuesday post, “Other Important Information about ABLE Accounts.”
Follow the Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page for more transition tips, and please contact the Free Helpdesk for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Transition Students, Families, and Educators anytime using:
- Our Accessible web form
- Email: Helpdesk@imagemd.org
- Text: Send to: (410) 305-9199
- Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page or Facebook Messenger
- Voice mail: Call (443) 320-4003, leave a voice mail message, and we will return your call
This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.