Disability Trusts & ABLE Savings In Connecticut
Are you or a loved one concerned about a disabled family member’s well-being and how their condition will be managed when you can no longer care for them? Is a simple trust not enough to meet their specific needs? You may have options. ABLE savings accounts are specifically designed for Connecticut special needs residents and their families. ABLE stands for the Federal “Achieving a Better Life Experience” Act, and each state is responsible for setting up programs to administer the fund. ABLE accounts enable special needs residents to save money with interest in their ABLE account without affecting their state or federally sponsored disability benefits.
A person is eligible for an ABLE account if:
- The disability was present before the age of 26; and
- If one of the following is true:
- The person is eligible for SSI or SSDI because of a disability;
- The person experiences blindness as determined by the Social Security Act; OR
- The person has a similarly severe disability with a written diagnosis from a licensed physician that can be produced if requested.
The Connecticut ABLE Program
The Connecticut ABLE account was established to better serve the needs of caregivers, family members and disabled Connecticut residents. The savings account allows decedents to designate funds specifically for special needs family members without tax implications. The deposits are interest-bearing and can be used to pay qualified expenses for individuals with a disability. The family must enroll in a participating agreement with an ABLE certified bank.
There are several programs that families can choose from including ABLE CT. ABLE CT is available to in state and out of state residents and the annual maximum contribution limit is $16,000 with a maximum account balance limit of $300,000. There are no fees incurred with disbursements or withdrawals.
The funds in an ABLE account can be used for ANY expense that is incurred as a result of living with a disability and are intended to improve the disabled person’s quality of life. Qualified expenses include, but are not limited to:
- Health and wellness;
- Legal fees;
- Financial management;
- Employment training and support;
- Assistive technology;
- Personal support services;
- Oversight and monitoring; and
- Funeral and burial expenses.
Understanding Disability Benefits
Connecticut residents may set up a disability trust as part of their end-of-life planning needs if they are the primary caregiver of a disabled loved one. A disability trust is specifically designed to meet the needs of families caring for a disabled child or adult dependent. It includes tax protections and incentives and does not preclude the disabled dependent’s eligibility in Medicare or other state funded medical assistance.
Even with the creation of a disability trust or a potential inheritance for the disabled dependent when the decedent passes away, the disabled child or adult retains eligibility for SSI (Supplemental Support Income) or SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) benefits. Special needs trusts also designate a primary trustee and secondary trustee for the disabled child as well as a plan of care for the trustee to follow. The trustee must manage trust funds and ensure the disabled loved one is receiving access to quality care and assistance.
Call Disability and Elder Law Attorney Brian Karpe
If you or someone in your family has questions about disability trust benefits or planning, contact Canton elder law attorney Brian Karpe. With an advanced Master of Laws degree in elder law and more than three decades of experience helping families through challenging times, he can help you too. Schedule a consultation today to review your options.