WYABLE Accounts Information
What is a STABLE Account?
A STABLE Account is an investment account available to eligible individuals with disabilities. STABLE Accounts are made possible by the federal Achieving a Better Life Experience (“ABLE”) Act. STABLE Accounts allow individuals with disabilities to save and invest money without losing eligibility for certain public benefits programs, like Medicaid or SSI. Earnings in your STABLE Account are not subject to federal income tax, so long as you spend them on “Qualified Disability Expenses.”
STABLE Accounts have some similar features to normal bank accounts, but they are not checking or savings accounts. STABLE Accounts are investment accounts, similar to 529 college savings accounts or 401(k) retirement accounts. When you deposit money into your STABLE Account, your money will be invested in different options that you choose. While you can still withdraw and spend your money whenever you need it, a STABLE Account also allows you to grow your money and to save long-term for disability expenses.
WYABLE is Wyoming's ABLE plan. The Wyoming Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities has partnered with STABLE Accounts and the Ohio Treasurer’s Office to offer this program to Wyomingites with disabilities. Although STABLE Accounts are available nationwide, WYABLE is only available to Wyoming residents. Through WYABLE, Wyomingites are able to open STABLE Accounts at discounted rates.
Federal ABLE Legislation
The Achieving a Better Life Experience ("ABLE") Act was passed in December of 2014. It is the federal legislation that allows families and individuals with disabilities the opportunity to create tax-advantaged accounts that can be used to help maintain health, independence, and quality of life. To read the legislation, visit this link.
How To Open a STABLE Account:
Account set up and enrollment is all online. No bank trips necessary.
When you open your account, you will be asked to create your own username and password for our online account portal. You will put in your basic information, such as your name, address, birth date, etc. (If you are a parent or other representative opening an account for someone else, you will need to put in your information and the account holder's information.) You will also be asked a few questions regarding your disability, in order to confirm your eligibility to open an account. Once you have input your information, you will make your initial contribution and choose your Investment Options.
Setting up your account online is free (and easy!). You will need to make an initial contribution of at least $50 in order to set up your account.
Currently, Wyomingites pay $3.50 per month ($42 annually) to maintain their accounts. There is also a small asset-based fee of between 0.19% and 0.33%, depending on the investment options chosen. There could also be other costs (e.g., a return check fee) depending upon your particular account activity.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has provided proposed regulations for STABLE Accounts. These proposed regulations offer guidance to states, beneficiaries, and other interested parties. To read the proposed regulations, visit this link.
Benefits of a WYABLE Account
The earnings you make on your STABLE Account are not subject to federal income taxes, so long as you spend the earnings on Qualified Disability Expenses.
Keep Your Public Benefits:
One of the primary reasons that the federal ABLE Act was passed was to protect individuals with disabilities from losing certain benefits such as SSI or Medicaid.
With the exception of some special SSI rules (see below), your STABLE Account funds do not count against you for purposes of determining your eligibility for means-tested federal benefits programs. For example, if you have $5,000 in your STABLE Account, that $5,000 does not count as an asset when determining your eligibility for SSI or Medicaid.
Please check with your Wyoming state benefits agency to determine if your STABLE Account will have any effect on your eligibility for means-tested benefits programs offered directly by the State of Wyoming.
No Impact on Medicaid Benefits:
The money in your STABLE Account will not affect your eligibility for Medicaid benefits. For more information, please see Medicaid’s recent guidance on STABLE Accounts here.
Limited Impact on SSI Benefits:
Using a STABLE Account will not make you ineligible for SSI. If, however, you have more than $100,000 in your account, your SSI benefits may be suspended.
Here's how this will work: any STABLE Account funds over $100,000 are treated as a countable resource for purposes of determining your SSI benefits. For example, if you have $101,000 in your STABLE Account, the Social Security Administration will ignore the first $100,000, but will count the next $1,000 as your resource. The good news is that if your STABLE Account balance causes you to exceed the normal SSI resource limits, your SSI benefits will be merely suspended - you will not become ineligible for SSI. Once your account balance drops, you can notify SSA to have your SSI benefits resume.
Money you withdraw and use for housing expenses may also affect your SSI benefits if you do not spend the money right away. To avoid any impact to your SSI benefits, be sure to spend housing money within the same calendar month that you withdraw the money. For example, if you withdraw $800 from your STABLE Account on June 3rd for rent, you must pay that money to your landlord by June 30th. As long as you do not hold housing funds over from one calendar month to the next, the funds will not affect your SSI benefits. For more information on how the Social Security Administration will treat STABLE Accounts, see their guidance here.
The STABLE Card:
The STABLE Card is a loadable prepaid debit card that is available to everyone with a STABLE Account. The STABLE Card does not pull money directly out of your STABLE Account. Instead, you get to choose a specific amount of money to load onto your card. This way, you can better control budgets and plan for your Qualified Disability Expenses. If you are the Authorized Legal Representative for an individual with a disability, you will be issued the primary card, but can also obtain a companion card for the beneficiary. The STABLE Card's discrete loading feature allows you to limit how much money your loved one can access at any given time.
Only STABLE Account funds can be loaded onto your STABLE Card, to avoid commingling STABLE money with non-STABLE money. This allows for easier reporting of your withdrawals and expenditures.
You can use your STABLE Card to spend money anywhere Visa is accepted. Although it is a loadable card, it works just like a regular debit card. You will still be able to set up a STABLE Card online account to view your spending history.
For more info, go to the WYABLE Accounts web site