National Disability Employment Awareness Month is an annual observation coordinated by the U.S. Department of Labor each October. The goal of the month is to educate employers and others on disability employment issues as well as celebrate the contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. This year’s theme “Increasing Access and Opportunity” fits well with Iowa’s Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) program. As the administrator of the IAble program, I want to encourage people to learn more about this savings plan created specifically for individuals with disabilities and the benefits offered to those who are working.
IAble is a savings tool offered to working and non-working individuals with disabilities that helps them to save for qualified disability-related expenses, while maintaining their eligibility for essential benefits like Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. Examples of qualified expenses include transportation, assistive devices, employment training and more.1
Individuals with disabilities who are working can gain financial independence and achieve a better life experience by taking advantage of IAble’s special features:
- Maintain Benefits: Place your earnings in an IAble account to protect them from the $2,000 resource limit for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid.
- ABLE to Work: Account owners who earn income may contribute additional funds beyond the annual $15,000 contribution limit and still maintain your means-tested benefits.2
- Payroll Direct Deposit: If an employer offers this service, individuals may be eligible to make automatic contributions to their account through payroll direct deposit.
- Tax Benefits: The earnings on investments are federally tax-deferred and tax-free if used for qualified disability-related expenses. Plus, any Iowa taxpayer who contributes to an IAble account, not just the account owner, can deduct up to $3,439 in contributions from their adjusted gross income for 2020.3
I encourage you to celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month by visiting IAble.gov to learn about the benefits of the program and sharing what you know with employers, businesses and individuals with disabilities. Together we can guide others to enjoy financial independence!
About the Author: Iowa State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald is the administrator of Iowa’s ABLE Savings Plan Trust and IAble. Since Fitzgerald started IAble in 2017, the plan has grown to hold over $6.3 million in assets and an average account size of $7,330 between 863 accounts.
1Federal Contribution Limit is $15,000 per year. Earnings on non-qualified withdrawals may be subject to federal income tax and a 10% federal penalty tax, as well as applicable state and local income taxes.
2The additional annual contribution amount 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.
3If withdrawals are not qualified, the deductions must be added back to Iowa taxable income. Adjusted annually for inflation.