Under the SECURE Act, an individual is considered to be disabled if he is unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of a medically determinable physical or mental impairment. Such impairment must be expected to be permanent and indefinite or result in death. Further, to be considered disabled, a healthcare professional must certify the disability.

Because of this limited definition of “disability,” it is hard to qualify for this exception to the inherited IRA 10-year distribution rule.
Under the SECURE Act, if an individual is considered disabled and inherits an IRA, the individual may withdraw the account over his/her life expectancy. The individual may do so as the direct beneficiary of an IRA and may also do so if a special needs trust established for the disabled individual’s benefit is the designated beneficiary of an IRA.

In our next post, we’ll explain what it means to be a “chronically ill” individual, which is another exception to the SECURE Act’s 10-year distribution rule (discussed in previous posts).