A Program of the Tennessee Department of Treasury · David H. Lillard, Jr., State Treasurer

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Frequently Asked Questions


Have additional questions? Check the list below for common inquiries regarding the ABLE TN program.

Explore our frequently asked questions

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ABLE TN is a savings program designed to help Tennessee residents with physical and/or mental disabilities put aside money to pay for qualified disability expenses. These accounts provide an opportunity to save and invest with tax-free earnings to help participants maintain independence and quality of life.

ABLE TN is administered by the Tennessee Treasury Department. Under the leadership of State Treasurer David H. Lillard, Jr., Treasury is responsible for many financial matters for the state, including management of over $60 billion in assets through its various investment programs. The Department is responsible for receiving, investing and disbursing public funds, and managing all state investments including the pension fund. The Treasury Department also has a number of customer focused programs that educate and support the financial lives of Tennesseans, such as the nationally-recognized TNStars® College Savings 529 program, the Tennessee Financial Literacy Commission, RetireReadyTN, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund, and the Unclaimed Property Division.

The Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014, or “ABLE Act”, became federal law on December 19, 2014. The ABLE Act authorized states to establish and maintain their own qualified ABLE programs. State Treasurer David H. Lillard, Jr. worked with the Tennessee General Assembly to pass Tennessee’s own ABLE Act, allowing the State Treasurer to establish ABLE TN. The legislation was signed into law by Governor Haslam on May 18, 2015. The primary purpose of the ABLE Act is to encourage and assist individuals and families in saving private funds for the purpose of supporting individuals with disabilities to maintain health, independence, and quality of life.

An individual, whose blindness or disability occurred on or before the participant’s 26th birthday, may qualify to open an ABLE TN account by meeting one of the following criteria:

  • Is eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Is eligible to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
  • Has been diagnosed by a qualified physician with a physical or mental disability resulting in marked and severe functional limitations that is expected to last no less than 12 months.
An individual not eligible to receive SSI or SSDI may qualify based upon an impairment found within one of the following lists:
  • Social Security Administrations List of Compassionate Allowances
  • Social Security Administrations List of Impairments for Adults (Part A)
  • Social Security Administrations List of Impairments for Children (Part B)
Any written diagnosis used to qualify for an ABLE TN account must be retained by the Designated Beneficiary or the Designated Beneficiary’s Legal Representative and made available to ABLE TN or the IRS upon request.

Yes, ABLE TN is only open to Tennessee residents.

U.S. Military Veterans who meet the eligibility requirements may qualify if the disability occurred on or before the veteran’s 26th birthday.

ABLE TN allows individuals to plan and save for future expenses associated with their disabilities. Interest earned on investments in an ABLE TN account is tax-free as long as the funds are withdrawn to cover the cost of qualified disability expenses. Additionally, individuals may accumulate up to $100,000 in an ABLE account without impacting eligibility for most federal means-tested programs.

Accounts under $100,000 do not impact eligibility for most federal means-tested programs. Current federal guidelines state SSI benefits will only be suspended if your ABLE TN account has assets of $100,000 or more in it. Those benefits will NOT be terminated, only suspended. Once the ABLE TN account balance falls below $100,000, your benefits will resume. ABLE TN accounts in excess of $100,000 will not impact eligibility for Medicaid benefits.

Yes, if you meet the disability requirements to qualify to open an account, you may continue to earn income and contribute to your ABLE TN account.

Total annual asset-based fees range from 0.200% to 0.840% depending on the investment selections held within an account. There are no sales or distribution charges or fixed account maintenance fees associated with ABLE TN accounts. The total annual asset-based fee includes the underlying investment expenses and program management fee. The annual asset based fee is included in the net asset value (NAV) of each investment option daily. More information about expenses and fees is available in the ABLE TN Disclosure.

DDuring the ABLE TN enrollment process you will have the ability to select from 15 investment options. You may select one or multiple options by simply assigning the percentage of your contributions you would like to allocate to each choice.

You have the ability to change your investment selections each time you contribute, and you may reallocate funds previously contributed twice (2) per calendar year.

Funds in an ABLE TN account may be re-allocated twice per calendar year. To make a change, simply log into your online account portal, then select and assign the percentage of existing account funds you would like to allocate to each investment choice.

Even though you may only reallocate existing funds twice annually, a participant may select different investment options for each new contribution through a one-time contribution allocation.

A qualified disability expense is one that is related to the designated beneficiary’s blindness or disability. Each person is unique and the needs of the individual can vary depending on the disability, circumstances and specific treatment. Federal and state laws provide these categories of qualified disability expenses:

  • Education
  • Housing
  • Transportation
  • Employment
  • Training and support
  • Assistive technology
  • Personal support services
  • Health, Prevention and Wellness
  • Financial Management
  • Administrative Services
  • Legal fees
  • Expenses for Oversight and Monitoring
  • Funeral and burial expenses

Yes. In the event funds from an ABLE TN account are used for non-qualified expenses, the earnings portion of the funds withdrawn will be treated as income, taxed at the designated beneficiary’s tax rate and subject to a ten percent (10%) federal tax penalty. Prior to making a non-qualified withdrawal, you should seek advice from an independent tax professional based on your own particular circumstances.

Visit our eligibility page to answer the questions on ABLE Assist. After determining your eligibility, you will be prompted to open an account using our online portal. If additional assistance is required, you may email us at ABLE.TN@tn.gov and an ABLE TN Client Service Representative will contact you shortly. Once enrolled, you may contribute, withdrawal, and update account information conveniently from the ABLE TN online portal.

An ABLE TN account will allow individuals with disabilities and their families to save and invest money in preparation for future expenses relating to a disability. Participants will be able to select investment options best suited to their financial needs and benefit from the tax-free earnings and tax-free withdrawals for qualified disability expenses.

ABLE accounts allow up to $15,000 in contributions per calendar year. Additionally, over time beneficiaries may accumulate up to $100,000 in an ABLE TN account without impacting eligibility for benefits available through most federal means-tested programs.

The annual contribution limit for any ABLE account is currently set at $15,000. This amount includes contributions by participating individuals, family members and friends. Over time, individuals may accumulate up to $100,000 in an ABLE account without impacting eligibility for benefits available through federal means-tested programs.

Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, ABLE TN account owners who meet certain eligibility requirements may contribute above the annual contribution limit. Please see the ABLE To Work Certification form to learn more.

Over time beneficiaries may accumulate up to $100,000 in an ABLE TN account without impacting eligibility for benefits available through most federal means-tested programs. Additionally, there is currently a contribution limit of $350,000 associated with ABLE TN accounts.

The ABLE to Work Act, as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, allows eligible individuals to contribute above the annual contribution limit if certain criteria are met. An ABLE TN account may qualify for an increase to the annual contribution limit under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 if the Account Owner:

  • Is employed and receives income and/or compensation
  • No contribution is made for the taxable year to a defined contribution plan under section 401(a) or 403(a); an annuity contract described in section 403(b); or an eligible deferred compensation plan described in section 457(b)

By meeting the eligibility requirements, the Account Owner will be allowed to make additional contributions above the current annual contribution limit. These additional contributions are limited to the lesser of the following:

  • The federal poverty level (or the poverty level of your state of residence, which differs for AK and HI residents)
  • The Account Owner’s compensation includible in the Account Owner’s gross income for the taxable year
The Account Owner or Authorized Individual, if applicable, is responsible for ensuring the Account does not exceed any applicable account limits, even if the Account receives contributions from other sources. The Account Owner or Authorized Individual should consult his/her personal legal, tax or other advisors.

Anyone can contribute to an individual’s ABLE TN account, as long as total contributions do not exceed the annual contribution limit. The Account Owner can make contributions above the annual contribution limit if they certify that they qualify for the increased contribution limit under the ABLE to Work Act. Contributions to an account are treated as a completed gift to the designated beneficiary for federal tax purposes.

Contributions into an individual’s ABLE TN account can be made by:

  • Check - Check should be made payable to ABLE TN. Please include the ABLE Account Owner's Name and Account Number. 
  • Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)
  • Automatic Investment Plans - An automatic investment plan gives the account owner and contributors the flexibility to set up recurring contributions from a checking or savings account. Contributors will have the ability to determine the amount and frequency at which they wish to contribute on a recurring basis.
  • Payroll Deduction
  • Rollover from another ABLE plan or 529 College Savings Plan
  • Inviting friends and family to give through Ugift
Anyone can contribute to an individual’s ABLE TN account. Account owners, family, and friends may contribute a total of $15,000 each year. There is a lifetime contribution limit of $350,000.

Withdrawals can be requested online via the account portal or by completing the Withdrawal form. Once a withdrawal is processed, payment will be issued typically within five to ten business days.

The account is owned by the eligible individual, who is the sole owner of all funds in the account.

Accounts can be established by an eligible individual or, if applicable, their Legal Representative. A Legal Representative, also known as the Authorized Individual. An Authorized Individual may be either (i) an individual who is at least eighteen (18) years of age at the time an Account is opened, or an entity, with a power of attorney, (ii) if there is no such individual or entity, a parent or legal guardian or (iii) any other individual or entity that the Program determines may act as an Authorized Individual of the Account Owner under applicable law and regulations. The Authorized Individual must provide legal documentation demonstrating the Authorized Individual’s authority over the Account Owner’s finances in order to be designated as an Authorized Individual on an Account. A Representative Payee (without conservatorship, guardianship or power of attorney) does not have the authority to establish an ABLE TN account.

Yes, an eligible individual or, if applicable, their Legal Representative, may allow a third-party to assist with the ABLE TN account as an Authorized Agent. To grant a third-party access as an Authorized Agent, complete the Agent Authorization/Power of Attorney form.

An individual may have a Special Needs Trust (SNT), an ABLE TN account, or both. As a direct-sold plan, ABLE TN offers eligible individuals the ability to open an account without the assistance of a financial advisor or attorney. However, we recommend anyone considering an ABLE TN account consult with a legal professional and/or other advisors to determine the best method for saving and investing funds related to the individual’s specific needs.