FAQs & Resources
Following are some resources that provide more information about ABLE savings accounts and Special Needs Trusts.
- ABLE Account, Special Needs and Pooled Trust Comparison Chart (ABLE National Resource Center)
- ABLE National Resource Center Presentation, Case Summary
- ABLE accounts and Special Needs Trusts can be a Winning Combination (ABLE National Resource Center
- How a Pooled Special Needs Trust and ABLE can work together to close the gap for SSI Recipients (ABLE National Alliance)
- Special Needs Planning Tools: A comparison of 529 ABLE accounts, Pooled Special Needs Trusts and Special Needs Trusts (article)
No. However, you should have a record of the doctor's signed diagnosis, a benefits verification letter from the Social Security Administration or other relevant documentation for account verification, as needed.
Not at the time of the withdrawal. Annually, NC ABLE will report the total amount of your withdrawals to the IRS and the date and amount of each of your withdrawals to the Social Security Administration. In the event that either entity wants to verify the expenses, it’s recommended that you keep detailed records.
No. You're limited to one ABLE account, except in the case of a rollover from another qualified ABLE program. This extends beyond NC ABLE to include accounts in other ABLE programs.
In the case of a rollover to an ABLE account for the same account owner, the account from which the funds are withdrawn must be closed within 60 days of the withdrawal.
- There is an annual account limit of $17,000 from all contribution sources and after that no further contributions can be made until the start of the next calendar year.
- Up to $100,000 can be saved and the account holder can still participate in SSI and SSDI without a reduction in these benefits.
- There is a $540,000 lifetime balance limit over the entire span of the account.
Absolutely. Anyone can contribute directly to your account. No matter who contributes, you, the account owner or authorized individual, retain control over the account.
Twice per calendar year. You can change your investment options for any NEW contributions at any time.
These are contributions of a specific amount made automatically into your account on a custom frequency basis. For example, you can set up recurring contributions of $25 per month. This makes the process of investing very simple.
This automatically moves funds from one investment option to another.
This is a way of making automatic withdrawals, such as when you'd like to use your account to make payments each month. You can make systematic withdrawals to the bank listed on your account, by mail to your address, or to a third party.
An asset or item purchased with the hope of a gain in the future.
Yes - ABLE account owners who earn income may exceed the annual $17,000 contribution limit. The additional annual contribution amount allowed is equal to the federal poverty level for a one-person household (in your state of residence) or the account owner's gross wages, whichever is less. Individuals may not be eligible if they are already contributing to their retirement through:
- a defined contribution plan
- an annuity contract
- an eligible deferred compensation plan
Account Owners should keep adequate records to ensure the limit is not exceeded. Any increase in contributions could impact tax obligations, so consult a tax advisor before making any such increase. If you are eligible, fill out the Self Certification form.
Ugift® is a feature of your ABLE account that allows friends and family to contribute to your savings in lieu of traditional gifts. It's simple to use - just log in to your account to find your code and share it with friends and family, who can use it at UgiftABLE.com to contribute directly into your account. Learn more by reading our Ugift ABLE FAQ.
We have some account holders that do not have the ability to open an account or the expertise to continue to manage their account once it is opened. Because of this, we have what’s called an Interested Party. An Interested Party has “read only” access where they can view information about the account. However, they cannot do things like move money around within the account or withdraw money.
An Interested Party would be able to see how much money there is and how it is invested. Some examples of people who may be assigned this level of responsibility include a financial advisor, a certified public accountant (CPA), or legal counsel, who are helping the account owner.
An Authorized Individual can be added to help manage and/or open the account on behalf of the Account Owner. Authorized Individuals have “full access” of the account and can-do things like view information, move money around and withdraw money—they can do anything the Account Owner can do.
An Authorized Individual can work on behalf of a minor Account Owner and/or an adult Account Owner who either:
Lacks the capacity to contract and the Authorized Individual has the authority to act, or
Has legal capacity and has granted the Authorized Individual power of attorney
No. ABLE accounts are NOT considered an asset of the student or their parent(s) in determining financial aid for FAFSA. To learn more, visit this website.
Yes. These items are considered “ordinary and necessary expenses,” or put more simply - living expenses. Any item that is used to maintain the account owner’s health and independence and improve their quality of life is considered a qualified disability expense and can be funded by an ABLE account.
There are several easy ways to withdraw money from an NC ABLE account. You can withdraw money using an ATM machine, and if you have the checking account option, you are able draw on the account by writing a check. You can also use an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) to move money out of the account or use a debit card.
Individuals can fund their NC ABLE account through many methods, including:
Filling out a check and mailing it in.
With an electronic funds transfer (EFT)—by moving from one bank account to another online.
Working individuals can choose to have a payroll deduction that automatically gets deposited into their account every payroll cycle.
SSI payments can be directly deposited.
You can roll over money from a 529 savings plan.
With the Ugift® feature.
You must deposit the full amount. SSI regulations requires the full amount of payment be made into one account. To learn more, visit this website.
All fees associated with NC ABLE can be found in the NC ABLE Plan Disclosure Booklet, saved here: https://ncable.nc.gov/media/237/open.
Once an account holder hits the $100,000 limit in their ABLE account, their benefits are suspended. However, they are not removed from the ABLE Program. The individual can simply stop contributing to their ABLE account and “spend down” the account below the $100,000 threshold. Then, once the account balance is spent down below the $100,000 level, the individual’s benefits are reinstated.
After the death of an Account Owner, first the funds from their ABLE account are used to pay any outstanding qualified disability expenses (QDE’s)—like outstanding medical bills and funeral and burial costs.
Next, if the account owner was receiving Medicaid benefits, Medicaid can file a claim for a payback upon the Account Owner’s death. And the Medicaid recovery is calculated from the date the Account Owner opened their ABLE account.
Lastly, after payment of any outstanding QDEs and any Medicaid recovery claim, the remaining account balance is paid to the account owner’s estate.