What Is Best Way to Spend ABLE Account Money?

Home » Blog » What Is Best Way to Spend ABLE Account Money?
Posted on: April 5, 2022 | by: Graber & Johnson Law Group, LLC
ABLE accounts are a way for people with disabilities to save and spend money, while protecting their access to public benefits.

An ABLE Account (Achieving a Better Life Experience Account) is a tax-advantaged savings account available to individuals diagnosed with disabilities. It lets them save without putting their public benefits at risk. Contributions to the ABLE account may be made by the account owner, family members, friends, trusts or any other person, as explained in the article “What Qualifies as Eligible Expenses for an ABLE Account?” from Investopedia. The money can be maintained in the account tax-free or spent on certain expenses, which are called “eligible expenses” or “Qualified Disability Expenses” (QDEs) and cover a broad range of goods and services. In some cases, figuring out if an expense meets the criteria is easy. However, in others, it is not so clear.

Typical QDEs include education, employment training, food, shelter, transportation, assistive technology, health, prevention and wellness, financial management of the ABLE account, including oversight and monitoring, legal fees, funeral and burial expenses. In all cases, keep detailed records of how ABLE funds are spent, just in case there is a dispute about whether an expense qualifies.

The law governing ABLE accounts does not spell out every single QDE. Sometimes the IRS or Social Security Administration will issue guidance to clarify whether an item is a QDE. The law says the term should be “broadly constructed to permit the inclusion of basic living expenses and should not be limited to items for which there is a medical necessity, or which provides no benefits to others in addition to the benefit to the eligible individual.”

Note that ABLE account funds may be used for a vacation, if it helps maintain or improve the health, independence, or quality of life for the disabled individual. The food category includes more than groceries: food delivery and restaurant meals are included.

A few tips:

  • If in doubt, use non-ABLE money and save the ABLE funds for eligible purchases.
  • Use public funds when possible. For instance, Medicaid may pay for transportation to a health care provider or educational programs.
  • Keep extensive records, especially for items you are not sure about.

It is great for the disabled individual to have this much flexibility. However, it can also be confusing. An elder law estate planning attorney will be familiar with the guidelines and help ensure that the funds are used properly.

Reference: Investopedia (Feb. 25, 2022) “What Qualifies as Eligible Expenses for an ABLE Account?”

Read Our Blog

Estate Planning Articles

Our daily blog discusses issues pertaining to Estate Planning, Probate Administration, Special Needs Planning, and Elder Law / Medicaid.
Read Our Blog

Join Our eNewsletter

Join Our eNewsletter

Each month we send an e-newsletter covering issues of Estate Planning. We also have subscriptions available for our bi-monthly Elder Law e-newsletter and weekly Business Planning e-newsletter.
Subscribe Now!

Request an Initial Consultation

Schedule a Time to Meet Our Team Today

Graber & Johnson Law Group, LLC is devoted to serving clients in the highly specialized areas of estate and business planning. Book a time to meet the Graber & Johnson Law Group Kansas Estate Planning Law Firm.
Request a Consultation

Have Questions?

If you have a a question, a comment, or simply want to have a conversation and explore how we can help, we’d love to hear from you.
Request a Consultation Now

Office Locations

Manhattan Office

714 Poyntz Ave., Suite C
Manhattan, KS 66502

Directions

Hugoton Office

517 S. Main St.
Hugoton, KS 67951

Directions

Elkhart Office

701 Vilymaca St., PO Box 450
Elkhart, KS 67950

Directions

Hutchinson Office

517 E. 30th Ave., Suite B3
Hutchinson, KS 67502

Directions

Garden City Office

1501 E Fulton St.
Suite 3
Garden City, KS 67846

Directions

Norton Kansas Office (Appointment Only)

201 E Holme St.
Norton KS 67654

Manhattan Office

714 Poyntz Ave., Suite C
Manhattan, KS 66502

Get Directions
Hugoton Office

517 S. Main St.
Hugoton, KS 67951

Get Directions
Elkhart Office

701 Vilymaca St., PO Box 450
Elkhart, KS 67950

Get Directions
Hutchinson Office

517 E. 30th Ave., Suite B3
Hutchinson, KS 67502

Get Directions
Garden City Office

1501 E Fulton St.
Suite 3
Garden City, KS 67846

Get Directions
Norton Kansas Office (Appointment Only)

201 E Holme St.
Norton KS 67654

Get Directions
Integrity Marketing Solutions - Estate Planning Marketing
Powered by
selectcrosschevron-down