The National Disability Institute estimates more than eight million Americans with disabilities—children, transition-age youth and adults—are currently eligible to open an ABLE account.
So what makes someone ABLE eligible? The federal ABLE Act establishes two requirements: an age restriction and a disability determination.
ABLEnow account owners range in age from infants to individuals in their 80s. But to qualify to open an ABLE account, the onset of symptoms of a person’s disability must have occurred before age 26.
Many ABLEnow customers are born with their disability or diagnosed at a young age. However, those who sustain a severe injury or develop a chronic health condition later in life must consider if their disability started prior to their 26th birthday before opening an ABLE account.
Individuals who meet the age of onset requirement must also have a qualifying disability. Physical, intellectual and mental disabilities may qualify someone to open an ABLE account.
If you are entitled to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) based on blindness or disability, you are automatically eligible to establish an ABLE account. About 70% of ABLEnow customers open their account based on their eligibility for SSI or SSDI.
About 30% of ABLEnow customers open their account by self-certifying that they have a qualifying disability and a signed disability diagnosis from a qualified physician.
You do not need to produce a copy of your diagnosis in order to open an ABLEnow account. However, a record of your SSI/SSDI eligibility or signed diagnosis must be readily available for verification. You may use this optional Physician Diagnosis Form (pdf) to obtain a written diagnosis for your records.
Advocates are working to increase access to ABLE accounts. ABLE eligibility is tied to the age of onset of the disability, which is currently age 26. The bipartisan ABLE Age Adjustment Act would raise the eligibility cap for ABLE accounts to onset of disability before age 46.
Learn how you can support the proposed ABLE Age Adjustment Act in this article.