Bridges Resource Library

How Can ABLE Account Funds Be Spent?

Updated as of January 18, 2024.

Qualified Disability Expenses (QDEs)

ABLE account funds can be spent on a wide variety of items, such as:

  • Education
  • Housing
  • Transportation
  • Employment training and support
  • Assistive technology and related services
  • Personal support services
  • Health
  • Prevention and wellness
  • Financial management and administrative services
  • Legal fees
  • Expenses for ABLE account oversight and monitoring
  • Funeral and burial
  • Basic living expenses

Expenses that fit into any of these categories are considered qualified disability expenses (QDEs). ABLE account distributions for QDEs are tax-free and do not affect SSI eligibility.

Getting Money Out of Your ABLE Account

Different state ABLE accounts provide different ways of withdrawing your ABLE funds for QDEs. Most plans offer withdrawals by check and electronic transfer to a bank. The Maryland ABLE account offers several methods for withdrawing funds, including electronic transfers to a bank account or for automatic bill pay, prepaid cards, and checks. Please note that some of these methods have fees associated with them, so you’ll want to determine which method is best for you.

ABLE Distributions Are Not Income

There are strict limits on the amount of income an individual can receive while receiving SSI. However, distributions from an ABLE account are not included as income. It doesn’t matter whether it is a qualified distribution or not; ABLE account distributions are NOT income for SSI purposes.

SSI considers ABLE account distributions a change in resources. The rules are quite specific and the type of expense is part of the determination of whether the distribution counts as an SSI resource.

More About ABLE Accounts

Comprehensive post: All About ABLE Accounts

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This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

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