MR #18.10: Treatment of Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Account in Determining Eligibility

Helping Families. Supporting Communities. Empowering Individuals.

Illinois Department of Human Services

05/16/18

Summary:

  • The United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition System has determined that funds in Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) accounts are not counted as income or as an asset when determining eligibility and level of benefits for SNAP.
  • Funds that are placed in an ABLE account are also not to be counted as income or as an asset when determining eligibility and level of benefits for TANF and AABD Cash.
  • ABLE accounts are intended to assist individuals and families save for the costly expenses that can incur due to the client's or family member's disability.
  • ABLE accounts are tax exempt savings accounts that are established to provide secure funding for disability-related expenses for designated beneficiaries found disabled before age 26.
  • Also included in this release in response to a Presidential Memorandum, the U.S. Department of the Treasury established a new retirement savings account designed for small-dollars savers and employees who do not have access to a retirement savings plan through their employers.  These accounts are known as myRA accounts and were started on December 15, 2014.  The myRA accounts are excluded as resources in determining SNAP eligibility or level of benefits.

The United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition System has determined funds in Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) accounts are exempt in the income or asset determination for SNAP.   

Funds that are placed in an ABLE account are exempt in the income or asset determination for TANF and AABD Cash.

What are ABLE Accounts?

ABLE accounts are intended to assist individuals and families in saving private funds for the purpose of supporting persons with disabilities for the costly expenses that can happen due to the client's or family member's disability. These are considered tax exempt savings accounts.

Who has ABLE Accounts?

ABLE accounts are for designated beneficiaries found disabled before age 26 established to provide secure funding for disability-related expenses.  Earnings, cash contributions, and qualified distributions associated with an ABLE account are not counted as income in the determination of TANF, AABD Cash or SNAP. 

Retirement myRA Accounts

In response to a Presidential Memorandum, the U.S. Department of the Treasury established a new retirement savings account designed for small-dollars savers and employees who do not have access to a retirement savings plan through their employers.  These accounts are known as myRA accounts and were started on December 15, 2014.

The Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 excludes many retirement accounts from consideration, including Roth Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA), as a resource in determining SNAP eligibility.  A myRA account is a Roth Individual Retirement Account (IRA) and is excluded as a resource in determining SNAP eligibility or level of benefits.

  • Manual Revisions

[signed copy on file]

James T. Dimas

Secretary, Illinois Department of Human Services