Attainable® Savings Plan Overview

The Attainable® Savings Plan allows individuals with disabilities and their families to save for disability-related expenses without losing eligibility for federal means-tested benefits. In this webinar, we review the benefits, eligibility requirements, and plan details of Attainable®, and explain how to easily set up an account.

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Please note that this transcript was auto-generated. We apologize for any minor errors in spelling or grammar.

Hello and welcome to this overview of Attainable, the ABLE Savings Plan in Massachusetts, offered by MIFA and managed by Fidelity Investments. The Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority, or MIFA, is a state authority created in 1982 to help families plan, save, and pay for college and reach financial goals.

The Stephen Beck Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience, or ABLE Act, amended the federal tax code in 2014 to add Section 529A. This legislation established ABLE accounts, tax exempt investment accounts, for eligible individuals with disabilities to be used for qualified disability expenses while still keeping eligibility for federal public benefits.

MIFA is the state sponsor. Fidelity Investments is the program manager. There are 49 active ABLE programs in the USA. In Massachusetts, accounts from the ABLE Act are called Attainable Savings Accounts. The Attainable Savings Plan was launched in 2017. Individuals are eligible for an attainable account if the onset of disability occurred before the individual turned 26 years old.

Due to the ABLE Age Adjustment Act, that age will be Increased to 46 years old starting on January 1 of 2026, regardless of current age. Also, the individual should be eligible to receive SSI or SSDI due to their disability or self certifies as meeting requirements. This requires a diagnosis with functional limitations such as those in the Social Security Administration's Blue Book, general categories listed at right.

Or their compassionate allowances conditions. One of the points that we like to make sure that you are aware of is that this goes far beyond just developmental disability. Long term cancer recovery, mental health disorders that impact your day to day existence, digestive system disorders, etc., all would qualify you for an ABLE account.

Attainable accounts allow the account owner or beneficiary to save above the 2, 000 SSI asset limit without affecting federal benefits. Family and friends can also contribute to an attainable account. Beneficiaries have immediate access to funds, though as these are investment trades, it can take 24 to 48 hours for those funds to clear to your bank account for your use.

Accounts provide individuals with disabilities, both financial independence and multiple tax benefits. Qualified disability expenses for attainable accounts include education, housing, transportation, employment training and support, assistive technology and related services, health, prevention and wellness, funeral and burial expenses, basic living expenses, and personal support services including financial management, administrative services, legal fees, and expenses for ABLE account oversight and monitoring.

For Food is a qualified disability expense. Food does include things like groceries, food delivery, restaurant meals, takeout, and more. Anything that might be considered food would be a qualified disability expense. Qualified disability expenses in general should be a broadly understood idea. They should not be limited to expenses for which there is a medical necessity.

When it comes to housing expenses for an ABLE account, they are similar to household costs for in kind support and maintenance purposes. Housing expenses include mortgage and house down payments, including property insurance by the mortgage holder, first and last rent payments and security deposits, Real property taxes, rent, heating, fuel, gas and electricity, water and sewer, and garbage removal.

Who can open an account? Attainable accounts can be opened by the individual with the disability themselves, the person with their power of attorney, their legal guardian, their spouse, their parent, their sibling, their grandparent, payee. This is a hierarchy. People who open an account will be certifying that there is not anyone above them in the hierarchy willing and able to establish the account.

We should always consider the designated beneficiary to be the owner of the attainable account, regardless of whether someone else has signature authority over it. A person with signature authority is the person who has control over the account. When the accounts are opened, that person will be designated.

There is only one person allowed to be the person with signature authority. When it comes to the specifics of the Attainable Account, contribution limits have increased in 2024. Total annual contribution cannot exceed 18, 000. However, if the individual is employed, the beneficiary may contribute an additional 14, 580 each year from earnings due to the Able to Work Act.

You are allowed to contribute up to the lesser amount. Of the account owner's gross income for the taxable year or the federal poverty limit, which is that 14, 580. So if you made 12, 000 in a year, you would only be able to contribute an additional 12, 000. However, if you made an additional 16, 000, you would be able to Contribute the full 14, 580 in addition to the 18, 000.

The account balance cannot be added to once it exceeds 500, 000. SSI is not suspended until the account exceeds 100, 000. You cannot have an attainable account and a retirement account from your employer that is being actively contributed to at the same time. There is no annual account maintenance fee.

Attainable accounts are investment accounts, though, and therefore they have investment fees, which vary based on the investment portfolio and range from 0. 2 percent to 0. 86 percent of assets. When it comes to reducing spend downs, without the ABLE Act, individuals are currently only allowed to have that 2, 000 in assets for all their expenses.

Savings are discouraged, and unexpected income or routine savings can easily exceed the limit. This necessitates what is often referred to as a spend down, where money has to be spent to get assets under 2, 000 to preserve benefits. Attainable provides the opportunity to, for individuals to save their money.

For larger expenses, without fear. Attainable also provides a place to move funds so that forced spending isn't necessary. Attainable allows an individual to save. When it comes to education expenses, education expenses include things like tuition, textbooks, assistive technology, one on one assistance.

When an individual enters college, many supports are self initiated and privately paid for that may have been available in high school from the school itself. Attainable can be used to provide opportunities for education equity. When it comes to employment, due to SSI asset and income limitations, many individuals limit themselves to a 20 to 25 hour work week for fear of losing their benefits.

Attainable can help someone in a trial of working full time, by saving up the necessary fund to cover their needs for 3 or 4 months, then working full time. When their SSI will be suspended. If working for full time doesn't work out, your savings will cover your expenses while SSI is re established. If SSI is restarted within 12 months of suspending it, you can restart without an issue.

Though we do highly recommend you consult a benefits counselor to make sure this is accurate for your personal circumstances. This is one of the ways where Attainable can offer a path to independence.

When you want to use your attainable account funds, account holders can set up a Fidelity Cash Management account at the same time as establishing an attainable savings account. This is not something you must do, but it is something that makes things much easier for many people we have found. Users will still need to transfer funds, but doing so is very simple since the funds stay within the same company.

Cash management accounts come with a Visa debit card that can be used at retailers and at any ATM without fees. Attainable funds can be transferred to any other bank account as well. There may be, however, a delay in the funds getting delivered due to the interaction between the two banks. Once funds leave the account, if they are redeposited, they will still count toward the annual limit.

Funds withdrawn for housing must be used within the same calendar month they are withdrawn. So please don't take money out on the 30th in order to pay your rent on the 1st as it will result in possible issues with the IRS. Because withdrawals from an attainable account are an investment train, you should again allow for the time for the funds to be deposited.

Generally about 24 hours. Bonds cannot be directly rolled over into an ABLE account. They will need to be cashed out first. When you want to open an account, you should visit Fidelity. com slash ABLE. You should review the Fidelity Attainable Savings Account Disclosure document, which has much, much more information about the program.

Decide how to allocate your funds among the nine portfolio options before you start the process in order to ensure that you are able to sign up for that which you want. Those include a money market portfolio. If you have questions, fidelity has trained a special division to be able to assist with able accounts.

Their number is 8 4 4 4 5 8 2 2 5 3 TTY 800 5 4 4 0 1 1 8. Attainable savings can be invested in professionally managed portfolios that match the beneficiary's savings goals and risk tolerance. There are nine possible portfolios. Units of the portfolios are municipal fund securities and are subject to market fluctuation and volatility.

Gain or loss may occur when units are sold. Beneficiaries can change their portfolio twice per calendar year. Get more information on Fidelity's website. Here is another demonstration of the various portfolios that are available for an individual when they sign up for this program. Attainable accounts are eligible for direct deposit, including your SSI and SSDI benefit funds.

Direct deposit of a paycheck must stay under the initial 18, 000. If someone wants to contribute the additional 14, 580 allowed by Able to Work, it must be deposited manually. Direct depositing into an attainable savings account is just like any other account, requiring a routing number and an account number.

A direct deposit of your work income can be split between an attainable account and other bank accounts. SSI and SSDI can only be deposited to one account. However, an individual may pre authorize a financial institution to transfer funds into other bank accounts including an attainable account. When it comes to automatic contributions, once an attainable account is opened, systematic investment plan may be established with 15 per month or 45 per quarter.

However, those numbers are not mandatory. You can deposit or withdraw however much you choose. When it comes to record keeping, payees are responsible for keeping records on how they spent or conserved benefits. Pays report on the use of benefits by completing a representative pay report. Pays must contribute the report annually unless they're exempt under GN 0 0 6 0 5 0, uh, 0.015.

These are generally guardians of minors or guardian who lives with a disabled adult child. The Social Security Administration mails the report formed to pays or pays, can file the report online using IRPA or my RRPA. All payees must also report on the use of benefits to SSA upon request. Payees should keep records on expenses for at least the past two years.

We recommend perhaps three. If the payee mixes Social Security benefits with other funds that belong to the beneficiary, the payee must maintain a record keeping system to differentiate SSA benefits from other funds. In short, when you are depositing your SSA benefit amount into your account, you should note how much is being deposited.

Deposited into your able account. So you also can note how much of that is being utilized. When it comes to taxes and fees and non qualified expenses, distributions that are subject to taxation, if a withdrawal is made for a non qualified disability expense, something that does not meet the list that we went over earlier, the account owner may be subject to both regular income taxes and a 10 percent penalty on the earnings from the investment.

There are two circumstances in which a non qualified distribution is not subject to the 10 percent federal penalty tax. Distributions made on or after the death of the designated beneficiary to the estate or heir or legatee of the designated beneficiary. And distributions constituting the return of excess contributions to the contributor on or before the due date, including any extensions of the designated beneficiary's federal tax return for the taxable year in which the excess contribution was made.

The ABLE Financial Planning Act, provided the beneficiary is the same on both accounts, or one beneficiary is a family member of the other, is allowable to transfer funds from a 529 college savings plan into an ABLE account without incurring any tax or penalty. This program will end on January 1st of 2026, and are still subject to the annual contribution limits.

When it comes to the saver's credit, ABLE account owners who meet certain criteria can receive a saver's credit on their federal taxes or contributions into an ABLE account. Individuals are eligible if they are age 18 or older, not a full time student, and not claimed as a dependent on another person's tax return.

As long as withdrawals are spent on qualified disability expenses, attainable account growth is federal income tax free. Third party access. The person with signature authority may grant another individual access to the beneficiary's attainable account. These could include a registered investment advisor, a second parent, Or residential program manager, etc.

This is called granting third party access. The level of access is determined by the beneficiary or PSA and the attainable plan program policies. There are several levels of authority ranging from the ability to look at the account to being able to actively spend money from it. In order to set one up, one should complete an account authority form on Fidelity.

com to review the access levels and determine the appropriate level of account access. Any third party access will remain in effect until it is revoked or revised by the beneficiary or PSA. Written notification must be provided to the program manager of any desired change to third party access. The program manager again in this instance being Fidelity Investments.

The exact same form that you use to, to grant third party access is also the form that you use to remove it. We highly recommend consulting a qualified advisor prior to granting third party access to an attainable account. The beneficiary or PSA can assign a successor participant in the event of that beneficiary's death who will receive the account balance in their own attainable account after all account actions have been completed.

The beneficiary or PSA can assign a successor beneficiary in the event of their death who will receive the account balance after all account actions have been completed. After the death of the beneficiary, the account will be restricted for 12 months, during which the account is subject to Medicaid recapture from any state where the beneficiary has lived.

However, during those 12 months, any outstanding qualified disability expenses may also be paid, including fees for the hospital stay and the funeral and burial expenses.

For more information, please visit us at MIFA. org slash attainable. There's also the ABLE National Resource Center at ablenrc. org. Take a look at Fidelity's, uh, information about ABLE accounts at fidelity. com slash ABLE. The Social Security Administration has a spotlight on ABLE accounts at ssa. gov slash ssi.

Slash spotlights slash spot able html. And additionally, we highly recommend people sign up for the mifa attainable email at registration form, which will allow us to keep you up to date on any changes to the accounts. Mifa is also available on a wide variety of social media, and we would love to see you active on our accounts.

Thank you so much for your time and attention, and I hope that you have a wonderful day.

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