ABLE Plan for North Dakota

An Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE) savings account is for individuals with disabilities and their families. It is similar to a 529 college savings plan. Earnings grow tax free when saved for a variety of qualified expenses.

This is an important step for people with disabilities who often depend on public programs for residential, vocational and healthcare. In order to access these supports prior to ABLE, individuals could save no more than $2,000. Saving through an ABLE account allows individuals with qualified disabilities to save up to $14,000 annually to supplement other federal and state programs without impacting the individual’s ability to receive federal aid.

It is important to note that BND sponsored and Governor Burgum signed legislation March 22 to ensure that funds saved through an ABLE account do not impact eligibility for state and local means tested public benefits. This law will not take effect until August 1, 2017 so individuals deciding to open an ABLE account are encouraged to check with all publicly funded programs they are currently accessing to ensure their aid will not be limited. Click on the State-Means-Tested Aid bar below to review the signed bill and for more information as it pertains to state-means tested aid that has been identified with assistance from the Health Department.

Since the passage of the federal ABLE Act, changes were made to allow individuals to open an account anywhere in the United States. With this new option, Bank of North Dakota (BND) assessed the administrative fees that would need to be covered by a relatively small population and determined that the residents would have lower expenses if they accessed other states’ plans. BND is available as a resource to answer questions about the ABLE Act and will provide a list of resources and state plans.

Download this form to assist with tracking your ABLE account deposits and withdrawals.

If you require this information in another format, please email bnd@nd.gov or call 701.328.5880.

An individual with significant disabilities that meets established criteria is eligible for one ABLE account. The account may be opened at any age but the disability must have an age of onset before the age of 26 and the disability must still exist at the time the ABLE account is opened.

  • If the individual is receiving SSI and/or SSDI and meets the age criteria, that individual qualifies.
  • If not receiving SSI and/or SSDI, the individual must meet Social Security’s definition and criteria regarding significant functional limitations and may be asked to provide certification from a licensed physician.

If you require this information in another format, please email bnd@nd.gov or call 701.328.5880.

The total annual contributions, regardless of the number of contributors, for a single tax year is $14,000. For individuals with disabilities who are recipients of SSI, the ABLE Act sets some further limitations. Account balances up to and including $100,000 will be disregarded for purposes of determining eligibility to receive resource-based federal benefits.

When the total account balance meets a Plan’s maximum balance limit, additional contributions into an ABLE account will not be accepted. The asset balance can continue to grow beyond the limit. Each state sets its own maximum balance limit.

The funds in an ABLE account can be withdrawn to be used for a “qualified disability expense.”  In fact, some of the states are offering a debit card option to make withdrawals easier.  A ‘qualified disability expense’ is any expense that results from living a life with disabilities to include education, housing, transportation, employment training and support, assistive technology, personal support services, health care expenses, financial management and administrative services and other expenses which help improve health, independence and/or quality of life.

Be aware that for those receiving SSI benefits who take a Qualified Disability Expense from an ABLE account (other than for housing), the withdrawal will not be included in the account owner’s resources if it is retained beyond the month received. If the withdrawal is unspent, the ABLE account must remain open and the use of the withdrawal must be identified or benefits could be impacted. Withdrawals from the ABLE account to pay for housing-related expenses MUST be spent within the month of the withdrawal. If the housing expense is paid after the month of the withdrawal, it will be included as part of the account owner’s income and could impact benefits.

North Dakota residents who qualify are encouraged to review the following state plans and select the one which is most appealing and advantageous for them.

National Able Alliance Plans – The National ABLE Alliance is a partnership of States dedicated to providing the disability community with an ABLE investment product that offers multiple financial options at low cost.

Fidelity Attainable Savings Plan

Individual State Plans

Enable AL – Alabama

Alaskable Plan – Alaska

STABLE Kentucky – Kentucky

Attainable Savings Plan – Massachusetts

MiABLE: Michigan

Enable Savings Plan: Nebraska

NC ABLE: North Carolina

STABLE Account: Ohio

Oregon ABLE Savings: Oregon

RI’sAble – Rhode Island

ABLE TN – Tennessee

Vermont ABLE – Vermont

ABLE Now – Virginia

Law Protecting State & Local Means Tested Aid signed into law March 22, 2017. Will become effective August 1, 2017.

Department of Human Services has identified state means tested aid programs. People participating in these aid programs MAY have aid suspended prior to August 1, 2017 if an ABLE account is opened by the individual that receives the aid. Contact the administrators of these programs prior to opening an ABLE account about possible suspension of aid.

  • Service Payments to Elderly and Disabled (SPED) and Expanded SPED.
  • Aid to the Blind Remedial Care
  • Autism Voucher
  • Substance Use Disorder Voucher
  • Personal Needs Allowance for Individuals receiving SSI and receiving services in a long-term care setting
  • Children’s Special Health Services