The Louisiana Achieving a Better Life Experience Act is a program which allows families to save for disability related expenses of their loved ones. The advantage of this program is that it allows the family to save without worrying about whether the assets in an account will be counted as an asset for purposes of determining eligibility for federal and state benefits programs such as Medicaid and Social Security.
An account owner can personally save up to $16,000 per year or save with help from family and friends. As long as the balance in an account does not meet or exceed $100,000, the funds will not be not be counted as a resource for purposes of determining eligibility for SSI. In addition, if an account does meet or exceed $100,000, SSI will only be suspended; it will not be permanently canceled. Once the balance in the account goes below this $100,000 threshold, the SSI benefits can be reinstated.
Any earnings on your account (i.e., interest that accrues on the account) are tax free as long as you spend the funds on qualified disability expenses. Qualified disability expenses include all of the following:
- Education – to include Tuition for preschool to post-secondary schools
- 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 Oversight and Monitoring
- Funeral and Burial Expenses
- Other expenses which may be identified by the Internal Revenue Service
NOTE: Money that is withdrawn for housing expenses and is not used immediately may affect SSI benefits. It is important that you withdraw funds for housing expenses as close to the date that payment is due as possible.