Palmetto ABLE Accounts
What is a Palmetto ABLESM Account?
A Palmetto ABLE account is an investment account available to eligible individuals with disabilities. Palmetto ABLE accounts are made possible by the federal Achieving a Better Life Experience ("ABLE") Act. Palmetto ABLE accounts allow individuals with disabilities to save and invest money without losing eligibility for certain public benefits programs, like Medicaid or SSI. Earnings in your Palmetto ABLE account are not subject to federal or state income tax, so long as you spend them on "Qualified Disability Expenses."
Palmetto ABLE accounts have some similar features to traditional bank accounts, but they are not checking or savings accounts. Palmetto ABLE accounts are investment accounts, similar to 529 college savings accounts or 401(k) retirement accounts. When you deposit money into your Palmetto ABLE account, your money will be invested in different options that you choose. While you can still withdraw and spend your money whenever you need it, a Palmetto ABLE account also allows you to grow your money and to save long-term for disability expenses.
The Palmetto ABLE Savings Program is South Carolina's ABLE plan. The South Carolina Treasurer's Office has partnered with STABLE Accounts to offer this program to South Carolinians with disabilities. Although STABLE Accounts are available nationwide, the Palmetto ABLE Savings Program is only available to South Carolina residents. Through the Palmetto ABLE Savings Program, South Carolinians are able to open STABLE Accounts at discounted rates.
Federal ABLE Legislation
The Achieving a Better Life Experience ("ABLE") Act was passed in December of 2014. It is the federal legislation that allows families and individuals with disabilities the opportunity to create tax-advantaged accounts that can be used to help maintain health, independence, and quality of life. To read the legislation, visit this link.
South Carolina HB3768 created South Carolina's qualified ABLE program in 2016 and designated the State Treasurer's Office as the program's administrator. The Palmetto ABLE Savings Program is offered to South Carolinians with disabilities through a partnership with the State of Ohio's STABLE (State ABLE) Program. The South Carolina State Treasurer's Office has negotiated lower fees for South Carolina residents who enroll in a STABLE account through the Palmetto ABLE Savings Program.
How To Open a Palmetto ABLE Account
Account set up and enrollment is all online. No bank trips necessary.
When you open your account, you will be asked to create your own username and password for our online account portal. You will put in your basic information, such as your name, address, birth date, etc. (If you are a parent or other representative opening an account for someone else, you will need to put in your information and the account holder's information.) You will also be asked a few questions regarding your disability, in order to confirm your eligibility to open an account.
Once you have input your information, you will make your initial contribution and choose your Investment Options.
Setting up your account online is free (and easy!). You will need to make an initial contribution of at least $50 in order to set up your account.
Currently, South Carolinians pay $3.50 per month ($42 annually) to maintain their accounts. There is also a small asset-based fee of between 0.19% and 0.33%, depending on the investment options chosen.
There could also be other costs (e.g., a return check fee) depending upon your particular account activity.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has provided proposed regulations for ABLE Accounts. These proposed regulations offer guidance to states, beneficiaries, and other interested parties. To read the proposed regulations, visit this link.