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Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE)

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WA State's ABLE Program

Medicaid, depending on the eligibility pathway, often has a $2,000 resource limit. This limit makes it challenging for people to save for items, services, or other life needs.

There are options for people to save money and not risk losing their Medicaid or other public benefits.

One option is the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) program. By setting up an account through this program, you will have the flexibility to save and still be eligible for programs like Medicaid and SSI.

Like many other states, Washington State has its own ABLE program.

To qualify for ABLE, there are a couple things to know. Let’s check those out!


Spending ABLE Funds

Funds in an ABLE account can be used for “qualified disability-related expenses”. This can cover a lot of areas including basic living expenses, housing, transportation, employment support, assistive technology, health care, or other services that help with your health, independence, or quality of life. Funds in an ABLE account can also be used for recreational or other life experiences but cannot be used for ineligible expenses like gambling or illegal activities.

Can I have both an ABLE account and a DDETF account?

Yes! Diversifying your savings accounts gives you flexibility and options when managing your money and budgeting for your future.

For a comparison of the ABLE and DDETF programs, check out this document.

Please note:

Medicaid Payback - Estate Recovery

States can recover the costs of long-term care and other medical services paid for by Medicaid from a person’s estate. This is called Estate Recovery, or Medicaid Payback.

In Washington State, the State will seek reimbursement from the estate of a person who has passed away after the age of 55. For ABLE accounts holders, this means that any money remaining in the account at the time of death could be recovered by the state.

A few key details to know about ABLE Account Estate Recovery:

Keep in mind, the purpose of an ABLE account is for this money to be spent within a person’s lifetime to “Achieve a Better Life Experience.”

For this reason, you may want to consider what combination of standard bank accounts, ABLE account, and/or Special Needs Trusts will best meet your needs.

For more information and answers to frequently asked questions about ABLE accounts, please visit the ABLE website.

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