How to Open an Alabama ABLE Account

Written by Jennifer McInerney, Attorney on 5/31/2022

Many families simply get overwhelmed by the ABLE application and start and stop the application many times. Below is a step-by-step guide on “how to” open your ABLE account.

Once you have determined whether you or your loved one is eligible for an ABLE account, the next step is to apply for an account. The easiest method is to apply for an account online, but paper applications are also available: It is helpful to print out the application and complete it prior to doing the online application (which follows the same format).


To open account online you will need the following information handy:

1. The social security number of the disabled individual and the Authorized Legal Representative (“ALR”)


2. If the individual is over the age of 19 and another individual will serve as an ALR, you will need one of the following:

a. Power of attorney authorizing the ALR to act on behalf of the disabled individual

b. Legal guardianship appointing the individual to act on behalf of the disabled individual

c. Legal conservatorship appointing the individual to act on behalf of the disabled individual

An Authorized Legal Representative can also be a spouse, a parent, a sibling, a grandparent or a representative payee.

3. The social security number of the ALR


You will need general communication information for the ALR and the disabled individual – home address, mailing address, email address, telephone number, etc.


The most confusing and most important section of the application is Section 5. The application asks whether the disabled individual qualifies for an ABLE account because they have a qualifying disability or because they currently receive Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Income. Here’s how it’s broken down.

1. The disabled individual receives Social Security Disability (SSDI);

2. The disabled individual receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI); OR

3. The disabled individual does not receive SSI or SSDI but is physically or mentally impaired and has a doctor’s diagnosis (with a signed Physician’s form – linked below)

Option 3, diagnosis codes allow you to then select one of the following diagnoses that applies to the individual:

Code 1: Developmental Disorder

Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Asperger’s Disorder, Developmental Delays, and Learning Disabilities

Code 2: Intellectual Disorder

Mild, Moderate, or Severe Intellectual Disability

Code 3: Psychiatric Disorder

Schizophrenia, Major Depressive Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Anorexia Nervosa, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, and Bipolar Disorder

Code 4: Nervous Disorder

Blindness, Deafness, Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Spina Bifida, Juvenile-onset Huntington’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Severe Sensorineural Hearing Loss, and Congenital Cataracts

Code 5: Congenital Anomalies

Chromosomal Abnormalities: Downs Syndrome, Osteogenesis imperfecta, Xeroderma pigmentosum, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Fragile X Syndrome and Edwards Syndrome

Code 6: Respiratory Disorder

Cystic Fibrosis

Code 7: Other

Anything not listed under codes 1-6 and Tetralogy of Fallot, Hypoplastic left heart syndrome, end-state liver disease, juvenile-onset rheumatoid arthritis, sickle cell disease, and hemophilia

It is important to remember that in order to have an ABLE account, the qualifying disability must be permanent, and the disability must have “developed” before the age of 26. It is also important to remember that the above referenced physician’s form must be retained and provided to the IRS upon request.


Includes information related to the disabled individual or ALR’s work status (select one).


Select which option you will place your funds. Think of the ABLE Account as a multi-faceted account. You can select from standard savings or portfolio (Conservative, Moderate or Aggressive investment options). You must select one option for your initial contribution. You can change your selection for future deposits.


There is a minimum deposit of $25 to open an account. You can, of course, deposit more than $25 but your deposit must be at least $25 initially. You can view your portfolio at anytime and can re-allocate your funds between portfolio investments up to twice a year.


You must verify your identification. Submit a copy of your driver’s license for anyone over the age of 18 on the account (the disabled individual and/or the ALR). If you do not have a driver’s license, you can submit a copy of your social security card and your birth certificate.

If you have questions about setting up your ABLE Account or need further assistance, feel free to call Alabama ABLE at 1-833-711-2253 or the author of this blog, Jennifer McInerney, at