COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio leaders want people living with disabilities to know about a way they can save money without losing out on important federal assistance.

An Ohio program that started in 2016, called STABLE accounts, takes $25 to enroll.

“It is built to help individuals who are living with disabilities be able to earn their own money, save their own money, and spend their own money,” Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague said.

Federal rules state that individuals with disabilities can only save $2,000 before losing means-tested benefits such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

With STABLE accounts, that changes. Accountholders can save up to $16,000 without losing federal assistance, plus an additional $12,880 if they are employed.

“They can use that for living expenses, transportation, any sort of their daily expenses,” Sprague said.

“Sometimes our expenses don’t come in even amounts, we all need to save for bigger things and this allows people to actually save,” said Executive Director of Disability Rights Ohio Kerstin Sjoberg.

Sjoberg said having the option to save while keeping certain federal benefits is a game changer.

“The long-term supports like home health aide, personal care aide, nursing services, things like that, is basically through Medicaid,” Sjoberg said. “You can’t get it through Medicare, you can’t get it through private insurance, so Medicaid is a lifesaver for people.”

To be eligible, you must have a physical or mental impairment that causes significant functional limitations, and you must have been diagnosed with the disability by age 26.

“That’s still going to be fairly broad,” Sjoberg said. “But the age limit is really the limiting factor.”

The treasurer’s office said the program enrollment has nearly tripled in the last three years, but they still want more engagement, you can sign up for this program online here.