Program allows people with disabilities to save money, keep benefits

Those who qualify can use the STABLE savings program to put money in accounts ranging from government-insured to aggressive growth

The STABLE savings program allows people with disabilities to save money without losing other benefits.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – On Wednesday, Ohio became the first state to allow people with disabilities to save money without losing benefits like Medicaid and Social Security.

The Savings and Investment Solutions for People with Disabilities, or STABLE, was made possible by the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act passed by U.S. Congress in 2014.

People who are eligible by qualifying as disabled can now invest in the tax-free STABLE savings program, where their money is put in accounts ranging from government-insured to aggressive growth. A key point of the program is that most other benefits are protected.

The National Down Syndrome Society started and pushed the STABLE accounts concept.

“Without the STABLE accounts, there wasn’t an option that would allow individuals with disabilities to save without putting at risk losing their benefits such as Medicaid, SSI,” said Lindsey Morris from the Down Syndrome Association of the Valley.

Jason Lenzi is a finance manager at Western Reserve Orthotics and Prosthetics in Austintown, where many patients develop their disabilities later in life. He says STABLE will be great for kids who have disabilities young.

An eligibility requirement for STABLE is that the disability must have developed before age 26, but Lenzi would like to see that eliminated.

“It just limits the people who are eligible for it because if someone develops their disability at 27 and above, then they’re not eligible. That doesn’t seem quite fair to them.”

He also issued a warning in advance, should someone’s STABLE account someday reach $100,000.

“Once you do reach $100,000 on your total balance, your Social Security benefits that you do receive could be suspended or reduced.”

To see if you qualify for the STABLE account program, take the eligibility quiz on its website.

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