Bridges Resource Library

ABLE Accounts – Frequently Asked Questions

Updated as of January 18, 2024.

How Can an ABLE Account Benefit Me?

More savings ability

Allows you to save resources far more than the $2,000 SSI limit ($3,000 for couples)

Up to $100,000 in an ABLE Account is excluded from means-tested programs, such as SSI, SNAP, FAFSA

Gifts and other deposits made directly into your ABLE Account do not count as income for SSI purposes


Allows you to withdraw ABLE Account funds at any time

Funds may be used for a broad range of activities and purchases

Money grows more quickly

Invested money grows tax-free

No taxes when withdrawing funds for qualified purposes

Qualified withdrawals do not count as income for SSI or SSDI eligibility

Tax benefits

In Maryland, a STATE tax deduction of up to $2,500 per donor per ABLE account is available ($5,000 for joint filers)

ABLE Account withdrawals are never taxed

Who is Eligible for an ABLE Account?

Disability requirements and age factors

Qualifying disability

MEDICALLY entitled to SSI or SSDI benefits based on blindness or disability


Self-certification of a similarly severe disability, if not entitled to SSI or SSDI

Age of disability onset

The qualifying disability must have occurred BEFORE age 26

It’s OK if you are over 26 now, but you must be able to prove that you had the qualifying disability before turning 26 years old

Note: on January 1, 2026, the maximum age of disability onset increases to 46


ABLE Accounts are available only to U.S. citizens and legal residents

In Maryland, you do NOT need to be a state resident to open a Maryland ABLE Account

No financial requirements

No income limits

No limits on other, non-ABLE resources

Can I Get an ABLE Account if I do not receive SSI?


The key is disability and age of disability onset, not income or resources.

ABLE Accounts can grow to over $100,000

In 2023, Maryland ABLE Accounts can grow to $500,000

For individuals who are not receiving SSI, the ABLE Account represents a flexible vehicle for tax-free savings

Annual contributions limits:

For 2024, $18,000 (per beneficiary, no matter how many contributors)

If you work, you may add an ADDITIONAL amount to your ABLE Account

  • In Maryland, you may deposit an additional $14,580 or your gross (before taxes) wages, whichever is less

Friends and family can contribute via online and paper check gifting options

  • These do NOT count as income for SSI or SSDI (or for other means-tested programs)
  • These DO count toward your maximum annual contribution limits

How Can I Spend my ABLE Account Funds?

Qualified Disability Expenses (QDE)

Federal law defines “Qualified Disability Expenses” as: “Any expenses related to the eligible individual’s blindness or disability which are made for the benefit of an eligible individual”

This includes, but is not limited to the following categories:


Textbooks; Tuition; Certification; Trade school; Training; Attendant fees (if applicable)


Mortgage (including property insurance, if required); Real property taxes; Rent


Car; Bus; Metro; Subway; Uber; Taxi; Train; Plane; Gas money; etc.

Employment training and support

Tools; Work-related uniforms; certification & licensing fees; Job coaching

Start-up fees for entrepreneurs

Assistive Technology and personal support devices

Computer; Screen reader; iDevices; Apps; Hearing aids; Communication devices; Guide dog expenses

Wheelchairs, walkers, hospital beds, and other durable medical equipment

Health, prevention and wellness

Medical bills; Medications; Exercise services or equipment

Financial Management and administrative services

Tax preparation; Financial advisor services

Legal services

Attorney fees; Court fees

Funeral and burial expenses

Pre-planning fees for burial; Funeral and burial expenses

Additionally, basic living expenses, including, but not limited to food; heating fuel; gas; electricity; water; sewer; garbage removal) are considered qualified disability expenses (QDE).

Tax-free withdrawals on QDE

Interest and account growth is tax-free

Principal may be withdrawn tax-free, even if someone received a tax deduction for contribution into the ABLE Account

Transfers of ABLE Accounts

From 529 accounts: Yes, transfers ARE allowed

Excess income: Yes!

  • Earned income up to $14,580 in gross wages
  • Unearned income (gifts, bequests, etc.) to reduce your resources for SSI eligibility

From one state’s ABLE account to another: Yes, but some charge fees to do so

How Can I Open an ABLE Account?

Who can open an ABLE Account?

The eligible individual

If the eligible individual is a minor (younger than 18 years old), an ALR (authorized legal representative, such as a parent, legal guardian, Power of Attorney) may open the account in the eligible person’s name

If the eligible individual is older than 18 years old an ALR may open the account in the eligible person’s name and manage it on behalf of that person

Can I open an ABLE Account at my local bank or credit union?


ABLE Accounts are managed by state agencies; No private bank, credit union, or brokerage firm may offer any ABLE Accounts

In Maryland, all ABLE Accounts are administered by Maryland ABLE

How Much Do ABLE Accounts Cost?

Each state sets its own fees for ABLE Accounts

In Maryland, costs associated with ABLE Accounts include:

  • Annual maintenance fees
  • Fees for deposits or gifts IF they are made by debit or credit cards
  • Prepaid VISA card
    • $1.25 per month
    • Fees to replace lost cards
  • Paper check fee
    • If you want to take money out of your ABLE Account via a paper check
    • $2.50 per check

Minimum opening amounts and deposits

Like fees, states set their own rules for minimum opening balances and minimum deposits

In Maryland:

  • Minimum amount to open an ABLE Account: $25.00
  • Minimum deposit amount: $10.00

How many ABLE Accounts may I have?

An eligible individual may only have ONE ABLE Account at a time

This is true no matter what the person’s age is

Will ABLE Accounts Travel With Me if I Move?

No, but, in most cases, you can transfer your ABLE account from one state to another

If you want to transfer your ABLE Account to a different state, contact the new state’s office for how to do so

Do I have to use my own state’s ABLE Account?


Some states, only allow their own residents to open ABLE Accounts

Is there any benefit in choosing my own state’s ABLE Account plan?

Typically, the only benefit in choosing your own state’s ABLE Account plan is if the state offers a state income tax deduction for ABLE Account deposits

Maryland DOES offer a $2,500 tax deduction per ABLE Account, but it is only available to Maryland residents who make deposits into Maryland ABLE Accounts ($5,000 for joint filers)

  • Thus, a Maryland resident who has an out-of-state ABLE Account will not get a state income tax deduction for contributions to that account

Can my ABLE Account Money be Invested in the Stock Market?

Yes, but you must use the options available in your plan

Maryland ABLE’s investment options (may use one or more of the following):

  • Cash Option
    • 100% placed into an FDIC-insured account with The Bank of New York Mellon
    • Insured up to $250,000
  • ABLE Fixed Income: 0% stocks; 100% bonds
  • ABLE Conservative: 20% stocks; 80% bonds
  • ABLE Moderate: 50% stocks; 50% bonds
  • ABLE Aggressive: 84% stocks; 16% bonds

How Do I Choose the Best ABLE Account For Me?

Similarities and differences between state ABLE Account plans

ABLE Account rules about contribution limits and the use of funds are set by the federal government, so all states follow those same rules

When choosing between different state plans, consider factors like:

  • Annual Maintenance fees
  • Investment options offered
  • Ease of withdrawing funds
    • Debit/Credit cards
    • Fees for these withdrawal methods
  • Ease of depositing funds

Check out the Three-State Comparison Tool from the ABLE National Resource Center

More About ABLE Accounts

Comprehensive post: All About ABLE Accounts

Individual topics

Contact the Bridges Helpdesk for More Information

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Text: Send to: (410) 357-1546

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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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