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Unlocking Financial Freedom: A Guide to NY ABLE Accounts and the PASS Program

Hello everyone,

Today, I want to talk about two crucial financial tools designed to empower individuals with disabilities in the United States: the New York Achieving a Better Life Experience (NY ABLE) account and the Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS) program. Both serve different purposes but are integral in helping to attain financial stability and independence. So, let's dig in.

What is the NY ABLE Account?

The NY ABLE account is a savings program that allows individuals with disabilities and their families to save money without affecting their eligibility for public assistance programs such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Key Features of NY ABLE Account

1. Eligibility: To be eligible, the onset of the disability must have occurred before the age of 26.

2. Contribution Limits: As of 2021, the annual contribution limit was $15,000, tied to the federal gift tax exclusion.

3. Investment Options: NY ABLE offers different investment portfolios, giving you an opportunity for financial growth.

4. Tax Advantages: Withdrawals for "Qualified Disability Expenses" are tax-free.

5. Asset Testing: Funds up to $100,000 in an NY ABLE account are not counted against SSI's asset test.

6. State-Specific: While NY ABLE is specific to New York, most states offer similar ABLE programs.

What is the PASS Program?

The Plan to Achieve Self-Support, or PASS, is a Social Security Administration (SSA) program that enables individuals with disabilities to set aside income and resources to achieve specific employment goals, like getting specialized training or starting a business.

Key Features of PASS Program

1. Eligibility: Essentially, anyone receiving SSI or who qualifies for SSI can apply for the PASS program.

2. No Fixed Contribution Limits: The amount set aside is based on your unique needs and goals.

3. Work Goal Oriented: Funds must be used explicitly for achieving the work goal outlined in your PASS.

4. Resource Exemption: Money and property set aside under PASS don't count towards SSI resource limits.

5. Federal Program: Unlike NY ABLE, PASS is a federal program and applicable across all states.

So, Which One is Right for You?

The answer largely depends on your personal needs and financial goals:

- Long-Term Savings: If you're looking to save for the long term without losing your public assistance, an NY ABLE account is an excellent choice.

- Specific Work Goals: If you have specific employment-related targets and require financial assistance to meet them, the PASS program can be invaluable.

Using Both Programs in Tandem

There's also the possibility of using both programs in conjunction. For instance, you could use a PASS program to fund a training program that helps you secure a job, then funnel a portion of your income into an NY ABLE account for long-term savings and other qualified disability-related expenses.


Navigating the financial landscape can be challenging for individuals with disabilities, but programs like NY ABLE and PASS offer pathways to financial independence and stability. By understanding the strengths and limitations of each, you can make an informed choice tailored to your individual needs and objectives.

I hope you found this guide helpful. Feel free to ask questions or share your experiences with either of these programs in the comments below. Your insights could help someone else in their journey towards financial independence.

Until next time, take care.


If you found this blog post valuable, Jensen Caraballo, or have any more questions, please don't hesitate to reach out or share your thoughts. The aim is to provide accurate and useful information that can help people make informed decisions about their financial well-being.

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