Kelly is 24 years old.  She is on the autism spectrum and is receiving SSI.  She is doing her best to be independent, but the monthly stipend is limited and it is difficult to live on her own with minimal funds.  What is her best option to keep her benefits and have the means to sustain herself?

An ABLE account can be established for Kelly.  An ABLE account is an account that can be established for an individual who was diagnosed with a disability prior to the age of 26.  This account can receive up to $15,000 per year without affecting Kelly’s benefits. The ABLE account can accumulate up to $100,000.  Once it reaches $100,000 Kelly’s benefits will be suspended, but not lost.  Kelly will be required to spend the funds in her account on her needs until those funds are below $100,000 again and then her benefits will continue.  ABLE accounts can also be used to pay for food and shelter for Kelly without jeopardizing her SSI benefits.

Hearing this, Kelly was excited.  With this account, Kelly is able to work on being independent while not worrying about losing her benefits.

In addition, if Kelly was to have a supplemental needs trust established for her by a family member or friend, they can fund her ABLE account with those funds so that she can pay for the things that SSI does not allow (i.e. food and shelter) and she can use the supplemental needs trust for her non-necessities.

It is the best of both worlds!

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