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 $15,000 annually to supplement other federal and state programs without impacting the individual’s ability to receive local, state or federal means tested aid.


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.

Social Security Administration releases update including new qualified expenses: The purchase of food is now considered a qualified expense. Use this link for more information:

North Dakota account owners may roll over 529 plans to ABLE plans, up to the ABLE annual contribution limit. States may need to expand the definition of qualified withdrawals to include rollovers into ABLE plans. Without a change to the definition, such rollovers could be categorized as nonqualified withdrawals.

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

If you require this information in another format, please email or call 701.328.5882.

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 or call 701.328.5882.

The total annual contributions, regardless of the number of contributors, for a single tax year is $15,000. 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.

Individuals earning income from employment who do not participate in their employer’s retirement plan can make ABLE contributions above the $15,000 annual cap from their own income, up to the Federal Poverty Level which is currently $12,060 for a single individual. All contributions above the $15,000 must come from earned income. Beneficiaries contributing to the account are also eligible for the Saver’s Credit through January 1, 2026. Click here to learn more.

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. The purchase of food is now considered a non-house related expense.

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 may 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 plans and select the one which is most appealing and advantageous for them.

Shop for a state plan through the National Resource Center. You can search the different options offered by other states and compare three state programs. 

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 and includes Minnesota, Montana and Iowa plans.

Law Protecting State & Local Means Tested Aid became effective August 1, 2017.

The following state means tested aid programs identified by the Department of Human Services will not have aid impacted if an individual opens an ABLE account. This list is not meant to be a comprehensive list of all local, state or federal means tested programs that are protected in ABLE plans.

  • 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