Florida Legislature: No Medicaid Recovery on ABLE Accounts
Written by: Christian N. Horde J.D. LL.M.
The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014 allowed for the establishment of ABLE Accounts to be used by qualified individuals as a way to earn and save money without being disqualified from government benefits.
The Florida legislature took the first steps this session to amend Florida ABLE statutes and remove Medicaid recovery from ABLE United accounts. Prior to this change, the death of the qualified individual meant that any funds remaining in the ABLE account, after payment of all outstanding qualified disability expenses, must be used to reimburse the State for Medical Assistance benefits (Medicaid). For that to happen, the State would need to file a claim for reimbursement.
Effective from July 2018 through June 2019, this change would treat those with ABLE accounts in the same manner as those without ABLE accounts when it comes to Medicaid recovery. The implementing bill will amend Florida Statute 1009.986(4)(b) which will state:
- Unless prohibited by federal law, upon the death of a designated beneficiary, funds in the ABLE account must first be distributed for qualified disability expenses then transferred to the estate of the designated beneficiary or an ABLE account of another eligible individual specified by the designated beneficiary or by the estate of the designated beneficiary.
- Except as required by federal law, the state Medicaid program may not file a claim for Medicaid recovery of funds in an ABLE account.
The hope is that legislation introduced in the 2019 legislative session will make this change permanent.
The Elder Law Center of Kirson & Fuller can help you maximize the use of ABLE accounts while you plan for the future. For instance, ABLE accounts allow individuals the ability to save beyond the $2,000.00 income limit set by Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid without penalty. An ABLE account may be used to pay for Qualified Disability Expenses without fear of a reduction in SSI or Medicaid benefits; housing payments will not incur In-kind Support and Maintenance (ISM) deductions.
To learn more about Florida ABLE Accounts visit: http://www.ableunited.com/