6:00: Morning News

New program helping empower West Virginians with disabilities

Living with a disability often comes with a lot of extra expenses. Even though public benefits may be helpful, past restrictions could leave people with disabilities still struggling financially. In fact, many individuals couldn’t save more than $2,000 without losing their eligibility for valuable public benefits. But now, thanks to a new program called WVABLE, that’s changing in West Virginia.

WVABLE is a savings and investment program specifically designed for West Virginians with disabilities. This program changes the rules, and now many qualifying individuals and their families can save and invest without affecting eligibility for certain programs like Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, FAFSA, HUD and SNAP/food stamp benefits.

For Christy Black of Milton, W.Va., WVABLE gives her hope for her daughter’s future.

“As a parent of a daughter with a developmental disability, WVABLE is peace of mind knowing that my daughter has a savings and a means to save well after my husband and I are gone,” Black said.

Black was one of the first to open a WVABLE account in West Virginia in 2018 after state and federal legislation made the program possible.

The federal ABLE Act amends Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Service Code (the same code that makes SMART529 Educational Savings Plans possible) to create tax-free savings accounts for individuals with disabilities. Contributions to a WVABLE account can come from many sources such as the account beneficiary, family, or friends. If you are a West Virginia resident or taxpayer and contribute to a West Virginia ABLE account, you may take a state income tax deduction equal to your total contributions for the year (up to $15,000 per year for each designated beneficiary).

WVABLE account owners can be any age, but current law requires the onset of the disability must have occurred before the age of 26. There is proposed legislation before congress requesting to raise the age of onset to before the age of 46, which would open eligibility to ABLE accounts to millions more across the country, including one million veterans.

If you are not sure if you or a loved one is eligible to open a WVABLE account, there is a simple online eligibility quiz to help you find out!

Once you’ve established your WVABLE account, your savings can be used to cover disability-related expenses including medical care, housing, transportation, education, job training, and more. Most importantly, this savings vehicle will ease the financial strains faced by individuals with disabilities, bringing peace of mind to them and their families.

For more information on WVABLE, or to see if you or a loved one qualifies, click here. You can also call the West Virginia State Treasurer’s Office at 304.340.5050 for more information about the program.

Please note, the content on this page is not legal advice or regulatory guidance. West Virginia ABLE is offered through a partnership with the Ohio Treasurer’s Office, the administrator of the STABLE Account Plan. STABLE Accounts are not guaranteed or insured by any state, any state agency or subdivision thereof, or their authorized agents or affiliates. You could lose money by investing in a STABLE Account. Consider investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses before investing. Before you open an account, you should carefully read and understand the STABLE Account Plan Disclosure Statement as well as the Participation Agreement and you may wish to consult a qualified tax or financial advisor or special needs planner regarding the investment and how both state and federal tax laws may apply to your particular circumstances.





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