ABLEnow has provided thousands of Virginians with disabilities a new way to save for the future without affecting certain public benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Now, thanks to Virginia lawmakers and disability advocates, Virginians have another incentive to open and save in a Virginia-sponsored ABLE account. The Virginia General Assembly passed legislation to prohibit the state from pursuing Medicaid recovery claims against the ABLEnow or ABLEAmerica accounts of Virginia residents, unless required to do so by federal law.
Importance of Legislation
When an ABLE account owner passes away, and after all outstanding qualified disability expenses are paid, the ABLE-enabling law allows a state to file a claim against an ABLE account for certain Medicaid expenditures. Known at the “Medicaid payback” or “Medicaid clawback,” this provision made some Virginians reluctant to open an ABLEnow account and some advisors hesitant to recommend ABLEAmerica accounts to eligible Virginians who want to preserve their private funds.
“This change offers increased peace of mind for our Virginia customers,” said Mary Morris, CEO of Virginia529, the agency that administers ABLEnow. “It means that Virginians with disabilities can save, invest and plan for the future with the same confidence as anyone else. As this news spreads, we anticipate even more Virginians with disabilities will use ABLEnow or ABLEAmerica as a tool to increase their financial independence.”
Details of Legislation
Unless required by federal law, this legislation prohibits Medicaid recovery claims against the direct-sold ABLEnow accounts and financial advisor-sold ABLEAmerica accounts of Virginia residents starting July 1, 2020. Virginia joins California, Pennsylvania, Maryland and six other states that have passed similar legislation or policy clarifying that outstanding funds in an ABLE account should not be subject to Medicaid recovery to the maximum extent possible.
“The Commonwealth is now one step closer to creating a more inclusive and equitable path to independence for all Virginians,” said Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, who introduced and championed the 2015 legislation that established Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) plans in Virginia as well as this bill during the 2020 session that prohibits Medicaid recovery claims against Virginia ABLE accounts. “While we celebrate this important victory, we remain more committed than ever to empowering all Virginians to achieve and maintain health, independence and quality of life.”
Advantages for Virginians
Because ABLEnow and ABLEAmerica are Virginia-sponsored ABLE savings programs, there are other unique advantages for eligible Virginians. Visit the Benefits for Virginians page for more information.
ABLEnow offers webinars and other virtual ABLE learning experiences. Organizations interested in sharing information about ABLE accounts with their group are invited to contact ABLEnow.