DRESHER, Pa., Feb. 14, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Ascensus, the nation's largest independent retirement plan and college savings services provider, joined members of the National Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Alliance, U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), and advocates of people living with disabilities to celebrate the new ABLE investment program on Monday, February 13 in Washington, D.C.
The ABLE program was established to help people with a disability or blindness save for the future without jeopardizing their federal disability benefits. ABLE accounts are now available across several states and allow for tax-free investment growth when savings are spent on qualifying disability-related expenses.
States across the country have joined forces to form the National ABLE Alliance, the country's largest multi-state agreement, to support this special investment program. The National ABLE Alliance includes Alaska, Arizona, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.
After a competitively bid search process, the Alliance selected Ascensus to administer the ABLE investment program. The firm's expertise in the administration of 529 college savings programs made Ascensus uniquely qualified to support the needs of the states and future ABLE account owners. Ascensus will service the program from its Newton, MA, Kansas City, MO, and Warwick, RI locations. The firm will also partner with Fifth Third Bank to provide an integrated checking and debit card option within the plan.
"Throughout the history of our organization, Ascensus has innovated to help more families across our nation save for a secure future," states Jeff Howkins, president of Ascensus College Savings. "We're thrilled to have been selected by the National ABLE Alliance to administer this first-of-its-kind investment program to help people living with disabilities or blindness save for the care and resources they need."
For more information about the National ABLE Alliance, please visit www.SavewithABLE.com.
Ascensus is the largest independent retirement and college savings services provider in the United States, helping over 7 million Americans save for the future. With more than 35 years of experience, the firm partners with financial institutions to offer tailored solutions that meet the needs of financial professionals, employers, and individuals. Ascensus specializes in recordkeeping, administrative, and program management services, supporting over 47,000 retirement plans, over 3.9 million 529 college savings accounts, and a growing number of ABLE savings accounts. It also administers more than 1.5 million IRAs and health savings accounts and is home to one of the largest ERISA consulting teams in the country. For more information about Ascensus, visit ascensus.com.
ABLE Eligibility Criteria and Other Rules
To qualify for an ABLE account, the account owner must have developed the disability or blindness before the age of 26. A person meeting the age requirement who qualifies for Social Security Administration benefits, or has received a waiver from the IRS, will qualify for an ABLE account.
Annual contribution limits are tied to the federal gift tax amount, which today is $14,000. The ABLE investment can grow up to $100,000 and not impact eligibility for Social Security Income or other means-tested programs at the federal level. When an ABLE account balance exceeds the $100,000 cap, Social Security Income benefits are suspended. The benefits automatically resume if the account value falls below $100,000. ABLE balances have no implications on Medicaid eligibility.
Investment growth is tax-free at the federal level when used for qualifying purchases, such as medical services, transportation and job training.
Investors should consider before investing whether their home state offers any state tax or other benefits that are only available for investments in such state's qualified ABLE program. Investors should consult their legal, tax advisor, and/or other advisor regarding their specific legal, investment, or tax situation.
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