Sign up for America Saves to help you identify ways to save extra money to contribute to your CalABLE account. America Saves is partnering with NDI to help individuals who sign up to receive ideas specific to saving money for their CalABLE accounts. It provides opportunities to learn and share stories about savings success and best practices.
Social Security Administration (SSA) Work Supports: SSA encourages individuals with disabilities to work at whatever level they choose and offers employment support programs to help them supplement their benefits or transition off benefits. SSA offers these work supports to help people increase their spendable income, pay for things they need medically in order to work, or those towards education and employment and save for the future.
Identify any extra money in your spending plan that you can save. If you have bills that you pay once or twice a year, like auto insurance, homeowner’s insurance, property taxes, you might want to save for those items within your CalABLE account, as those are Qualified Disability Expenses.
If you are receiving SSA disability benefits, consider meeting with a benefits counselor to understand the impact that working with a CalABLE account could have on your benefits. You may find you can save even more!
Additional questions? Call CalABLE at: 833-225-2253 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT
How do I use the money saved in my CalABLE account?
A CalABLE account owner needs to log into their account and request a withdrawal. The withdrawal can be sent to your bank electronically or you can request a paper check. Your CalABLE account will be charged $5 for each check issued. Once your funds are available, you can use the money on any qualified disability expense. Be sure to save your receipts for the calendar year, and for three additional years.
Things to consider:
There may be a holding period before your funds can be withdrawn from your CalABLE account and used for a qualified disability expense, so plan ahead (for example, electronic transfers may take 3-5 business days and paper checks may take 7-10 business days).
A CalABLE account owner who moves or changes their Legal Authorized Representative will have their funds held for 30 days. Plan ahead by withdrawing the amount you need before the hold.
If you receive means tested benefits, like SSI, be aware that once funds are withdrawn, they are considered countable resources in the next month. For Example: If you are an SSI beneficiary and use funds from your CalABLE account to pay for housing, the funds must be spent on housing in the same month as withdrawn. If it is not spent by the end of the month it may be counted as a resource by SSI. Make sure you factor this in as you withdraw money from your CalABLE account.
Plan (whenever possible) to make your withdrawals online form your CalABLE account to avoid paper check fees.
Plan ahead for deposit holding time and withdrawal processing time. You may want to use a Cash Flow chart to plan for timely deposits and withdrawals from your CalABLE account.
CalABLE offers four investment choices for growing your money. You can choose to put some money into all four options or select 1, 2, or 3 of the options. You can change your choices two times within a calendar year. We all make these decisions differently depending upon our spending and savings goals and comfort with investments, which always include risk, so it is important to understand each of the four options below.
The first option is the FDIC insured account. It earns a small amount of interest and you are not at risk of losing money saved in your CalABLE account. Keep in mind, there are management fees for the CalABLE FDIC insured account. However, the interest earned will help to cover some of the fees.
The next option is called the Conservative Portfolio. This account may earn more interest than the FDIC insured account because your money would be invested in 20% stocks, 55% bonds and 25% in an insurance product that is guaranteed, at a fixed rate of return. Stocks are generally considered more risky than bonds and therefore, the stocks have both the potential to grow more than the FDIC insured account, but it also has the potential to grow tax free and help you get to your savings goals sooner. Only 20% of your money in this option would be invested in stocks. There is a fee for this account too, the fees are charged as a percentage of interest on the amount of your savings.
The Moderate Portfolio would put more of your money into purchasing stocks. Your CalABLE funds would be divided up into 50% stocks, 45% bonds and 5% in a guaranteed insurance product. There is a fee for this account too, the fees are charged as a percentage of interest on the amount of your savings.
The Aggressive Growth Portfolio would put more of your money into buying stocks and it has the greatest potential for increasing your savings over time, but it also carries the greatest risk for losing some of your CalABLE savings. Your money would be invested in 80% stocks and 20% bonds. There is a fee for this account too, the fees are charged as a percentage of interest on the amount of your savings.
Examples of ways you can make your money work for you:
Monitor your CalABLE account over six months then see if you have any extra money saved. If you do, consider investing some of your savings for the next six months to see how your investment choice performs in comparison to funds saved in your FDIC CalABLE account.
You may decide to save a specific amount in the FDIC insured account so you have secure savings in case of an emergency. Then any remaining amount you could consider saving in one or more of the other investment plans.
Once you know how you want to save and invest your money, see which CalABLE savings/investment account(s) you want to start with and learn about the fees. You can see how each of these products have performed given the interest earned and the fees charged by going to: calable.ca.gov/performance.
To learn more about investment options available through CalABLE, review:
How should I manage my CalABLE account if I receive SSI or Medicaid?
If you are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI):
If you are a CalABLE account owner that receives SSI, any funds exceeding $100,000 will be considered a countable resource. When combined with your other savings, there is a possibility that you may exceed the allowable SSI resource limit. In that case, you would not receive SSI payments until the balance of countable resources is reduced.
For example, if an SSI beneficiary saved $101,000 in CalABLE and had $1,200 in countable savings in their checking account, they would be $200 over resource for that month and would not receive their SSI, until the countable resources were less than their limit of $2,000, by the 1st of the next month.
If you are receiving Medi-Cal (Medicaid):
A beneficiary’s Medicaid continues when an SSI recipient’s CalABLE account exceeds $100,000 by an amount that causes the recipient to exceed the SSI resource limit–whether alone or with other resources. The recipient retains eligibility for Medical Assistance (Medicaid) without a time limit as long as he or she remains otherwise eligible. Any amount of ABLE savings does not change any type of Medicaid eligibility. In addition, CalABLE has waived Medi-Cal payback, subject to federal and probate laws. (Note: this waived payback is only available for residents of California receiving Medi-Cal).
A person who is over resource for SSI and/or Medicaid may move cash resources of up to $15,000 into an ABLE account within a calendar year. Medicaid “look back period” does not apply to the transfer of funds into an ABLE account. ABLE savings up to $100,000 are disregarded for SSI; any amount of ABLE savings does not affect eligibility for any type of Medicaid.
Have a plan to monitor your CalABLE account and your personal resources.
How do I maximize CalABLE savings within each calendar year?
You can save up to $15,000 per year in a CalABLE account. Keep in mind, any expenditures in a given year count towards that limit. For example, if you contributed $15,000 to your CalABLE account and then spend $5,000 on qualified disability expenses, you still cannot contribute any more to your CalABLE account in that calendar year.
There is an important exception to this rule:
The ABLE To Work Act allows CalABLE owners who work, and do not participate in an employer-sponsored retirement account, to save up to an additional $12,490 per calendar year from their earnings. Due to this Act, CalABLE owners who work may contribute a maximum of $27,490 per calendar year to their CalABLE account.
Prepare a money management plan for coordinating contributions to your CalABLE to reach your savings goal. Use your plan to maximize your annual savings.
Did You Know?
If you receive SSI, up to $100,000 in your ABLE account has no effect on your SSI eligibility. When the ABLE account balance over $100,000 is combined with other resources and exceeds the SSI resource limit, SSI payments are suspended but Medicaid continues. ABLE savings of any amount does not change eligibility for FAFSA, HUD, SNAP or any type of Medicaid benefit.
The AchievABLE™ Corner was developed by National Disability Institute with generous funding from Wells Fargo Foundation.
Materials from Hands on Banking® – a free, online financial education program – were used in the creation of the AchievABLE™ Corner.
For more information about the AchievABLE™ Corner or to report any issues you have,
please email Kathy Brannigan at email@example.com.
The AchievABLE™ Corner is committed to providing accurate and reliable information. While we aim to provide all materials in accessible formats on our site, we cannot guarantee the accessibility of materials on third-party websites. In addition, the AchievABLE™ Corner is not responsible for and cannot confirm the accuracy of all content on third-party websites.
The terms and conditions of a CalABLE account are governed by the CalABLE Program Disclosure Statement and Participation Agreement (CalABLE Disclosure Statement). In the event of a conflict between information appearing on this website and the CalABLE Disclosure Statement, the information in the CalABLE Disclosure Statement will govern. Click here for a copy of the CalABLE Disclosure Statement or visit https://calable.ca.gov for more information.