Ohio’s ABLE Program (STABLE) Impresses With Bells And Whistles — by: Christopher W. Smith, JD

Posted on: Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

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The following is an article written by C&T Attorney Christopher W. Smith regarding the current status of the ABLE act and ABLE accounts. We hope you find it helpful:


In car shopping, bells and whistles matter.  We consider a car’s electronics, sound system, and safety features.  Leather seats and a sun roof usually do not hurt.

Currently, there are three states that offer ABLE accounts to Michigan residents: Nebraska (Enable), Tennessee (ABLE TN), and Ohio (STABLE).  Each state’s offering is impressive given the limited amount of time that they had to set their programs up and all have surprisingly low fees.  For example, none of the states are charging transactional fees.  Deposit and withdrawal as much as you want!

If fees are your primary concern, Tennessee is the lowest cost option.  But overall, Ohio stands out.  In addition to rolling out the first ABLE program, Ohio really paid attention to the program’s bells and whistles.  Some of Ohio’s impressive features include:

  • A simple enrollment interface.
  • The ability of guardians to manage multiple accounts with one login.
  • Easy electronic transfers.
  • The ability to send a link to friends and family members to help fund the account (similar to gofundme.com).
  • A loadable credit card (resembling TrueLink), with a number of built-in controls that nicely balances financial independence with concerns about a beneficiary misusing funds.

All of this comes at a reasonable price for out-of-state residents of $5/month and 0.45% – 0.60% of assets.  Compared to most pooled trusts (and even a TrueLink credit card), this is cheap.

Ohio already has an advantage over other ABLE programs as the first in the country.  But unless other states match or improve on Ohio’s bells and whistles, they will have a hard time catching up.  As a Michigander, this is painful for me to say.

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