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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

NY ABLE Program


Visit the NY ABLE website.


The NY Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Program:

  • encourages and assists individuals and families to save private funds in accounts in the program to support individuals with disabilities to maintain health, independence and quality of life.
  • is intended to supplement, but not supplant, benefits provided through Medicaid, SSI, private insurance and other sources.
  • is exempt from federal tax on its earnings, similar to other college savings accounts, provided the funds are used to pay for qualified disability expenses.

Administration of the NY ABLE Program

The Office of the State Comptroller will administer the NY ABLE Program, in consultation with the following state agencies:

  • Office for People with Developmental Disabilities,
  • Office of Mental Health,
  • Department of Health, and
  • Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

When NY ABLE accounts will be available

  • Under the NY ABLE Act, this program became effective on April 1, 2016.
  • Enrollment will be available beginning in the summer of 2017.

How NY ABLE was enacted

  • Signed into law by Governor Cuomo in December 2015.
  • Authorized by the federal Stephen Beck, Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act enacted on December 19, 2014, as Section 529A of the Internal Revenue Code (Code §529A).
  • The federal ABLE Act, patterned after Section 529 of the Code which authorized state-sponsored, tax-advantaged college savings programs, authorized states to establish programs that allow eligible individuals to save and invest funds for disability-related expenses.

Differences between NY ABLE accounts and 529 accounts

529 college savings accounts are used to pay for qualified higher education expenses of the account beneficiary, while ABLE accounts are used to pay for qualified disability expenses of the account beneficiary. You can't transfer funds from a 529 college savings account to an ABLE account. Each program is separate and has different rules.

  • Qualified disability expenses must be related to the eligible individual’s blindness or disability and may include expenses related to the following:
  • education
  • housing
  • transportation
  • employment training and support
  • assistive technology and personal support services
  • health
  • financial management
  • legal fees
  • funeral and burial expenses
  • other expenses approved by the Treasury

ABLE accounts differ from 529 accounts in the following ways:

  • An ABLE account owner must be the beneficiary of the account or a parent, legal guardian or representative of the beneficiary.
  • A maximum of one ABLE account per beneficiary is permitted.
  • Annual contributions to ABLE accounts are capped.
  • Funds in ABLE accounts are, generally, not considered for federal means-tested benefits.