Mother and young son with piggy bankThe idea for the ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) Act, enacted in late 2014, first began with a group of parents of Down syndrome children sitting around a kitchen table in Northern Virginia. The families wondered why they could establish college savings accounts, but that similar programs didn’t exist for parents of children with disabilities. When the federal government passed the ABLE Act, it paved the way for states to pass their own ABLE legislation that allows individuals with disabilities (and their families) to save for disability-related expenses without impacting their eligibility for certain means-tested federal benefits. Massachusetts passed its own ABLE legislation, and with it the Attainable Savings Plan was launched. All Attainable accounts are administered by MEFA and managed by Fidelity. And anyone in the country can sign up and start saving in an Attainable account – there’s no regional limitations or requirements.

Launching this program has allowed us to meet many families across the Commonwealth and beyond who are passionate about beginning to plan and save for disability-related expenses. Throughout our efforts to spread the word about Attainable, we have been asked several interesting questions about the program. We’ve shared our most commonly asked ones below.

Who is eligible for an Attainable account?

In order to open an account, the onset of the disability of the individual must have started before the age of 26. Individuals are eligible if they receive benefits under title II (Social Security disability insurance) or title XVI (Supplemental Security Income) of the Social Security Act. Individuals who are not receiving these benefits may still be eligible if they have a written diagnosis of their disability by a physician.

Are there tax benefits to having an Attainable Savings Plan?

When money is used from an Attainable account, the owner won’t pay federal income tax on any withdrawals or account earnings, provided they are used for qualified disability expenses.

Is there a minimum amount needed to open an account?

You may open an Attainable account with as little as a $50 deposit. You must maintain at least a $30 balance in the account.

Who is the account owner? 

The eligible individual with a disability is always the Attainable account owner. If the account owner, also called the beneficiary, is a minor child or incapable of managing the account, a person with signature authority (PSA) can open and manage the account. The PSA has full control over the account and must be the beneficiary’s parent, legal guardian, or agent acting under the Power of Attorney (POA).

How is the money invested?

There are eight investment portfolios that are invested in the stock market and provide a range of risk choices from conservative to aggressive. Fidelity representatives can help you with these choices. They can be reached at (844) 458-2253.

What counts as a “qualified disability expense”?

Qualified disability expenses are those incurred by the account owner and used to maintain his or her general health, independence, or quality of life. Examples include costs associated with daily living essentials, education, housing, transportation, training and support, employment, and personal support services.

To learn more about Attainable, and find out how to open an account, visit us online here.