Here Are Three BCAs That Actually Help You Save for College, Retirement, and Disability Expenses
CalABLE: Helping Individuals with Disabilities Save and Keep More
Left: Among our first enrollees! Thanks Amelia!
Since December 2018, nearly 600 people have opened a California Achieving a Better Life Experience (CalABLE) account.
CalABLE allows any individual with a disability that occurred before age 26 to open a tax-advantaged savings and investment account. The program was specifically designed to empower people with disabilities to achieve financial independence. Whether you’re a working individual with a disability, or a parent wanting to put money away for the future of a child with a disability, CalABLE can help you plan for a successful financial future.
Among the many benefits to enrolling in CalABLE is that if an individual is receiving means-tested government benefits -- SSI or Medi-Cal, for instance – money deposited in a CalABLE account up to $15,000 per year (or more, if the person is employed) is not counted as a resource when determining eligibility for such benefits.
Prior to the passage of the federal ABLE Act, SSI recipients with more than $2,000 in liquid assets would find their benefits suspended. They were required to “spend down” until their assets fell below the $2,000 threshold. With CalABLE, an individual receiving benefits can save or invest up to a total of $100,000 without jeopardizing their benefits. What’s more, anyone can contribute directly to another person’s CalABLE account and that contribution is not treated as additional income as it relates to benefits programs.
CalABLE is also a great program for people with disabilities who may not currently receive benefits. Money deposited in a CalABLE account can be withdrawn at any time without taxes or penalties, provided the money is used for Qualified Disability Expenses (QDEs).
What is a QDE? The regulations are intentionally broad. A QDE is any expense that maintains or improves the health, independence, or quality of life of the individual with a disability. That could include everyday household and healthcare expenses, as well as transportation costs, legal expenses, assistive technology, and more.
CalABLE is fully accessible online at CalABLE.ca.gov or by calling the customer support center at (833)-CAL-ABLE. At the enrollment website, individuals can learn more about eligibility, enrollment, and can even access their account without ever needing to go into a bank. In the coming weeks and months, the CalABLE team will be holding information sessions throughout the state to spread the word about this great new program. Contact the CalABLE team today if you would like additional information.