Program helps people with disabilities save for the future
August is “ABLE To Save Month” in Michigan, offering a chance to publicize and encourage investments in the state’s Achieving a Better Life Experience savings program.
“Michigan was one of the first states to launch an ABLE plan to help people with disabilities achieve greater financial independence,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. “Able To Save Month is an opportunity to promote awareness of this great program and help Michiganders learn about all of the options available to them.”
MiABLE, administered by the Michigan Department of Treasury, will offer a $50 match on new accounts opened with $50 or more throughout August. Purchasers can open a MiABLE account online at MiABLE.org. Only one account per beneficiary qualifies for the match.
Unlike traditional savings accounts, MiABLE savings are not considered when applying for federal or state benefits, like Social Security Disability Income, Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program. MiABLE accounts also allow for savings of up to $100,000 without losing financial disability benefits.
Individuals are eligible to open and fund a MiABLE account if they become disabled or blind before age 26 and are entitled to collect Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income — though they do not need to be receiving either of these benefits to qualify for a MiABLE account.
MiABLE also allows family members, guardians, powers of attorney and others to open and manage an account on behalf of a person with a disability.
Funds from a MiABLE account are not taxed if used for qualified disability expenses such as education, housing, transportation, medical costs, employment training, assistive technology and personal support services, legal fee expenses for oversight and monitoring and end-of-life expenses. Michigan state income taxpayers can claim up to a $5,000 deduction for single filers and $10,000 for joint filers for MiABLE contributions.
In September 2021, Michigan joined the National ABLE Alliance, a 18-member bipartisan state consortium that works to create the most cost-effective and user-friendly ABLE programs for people with disabilities.
Along with Michigan, the National ABLE Alliance consists of Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia.
The federal Stephen J. Beck Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014 authorized tax-advantaged investment accounts similar to college savings programs. Before ABLE, individuals risked losing government disability benefits if their assets exceeded $2,000.
MiABLE has more than $35 million in assets and nearly 4,100 accounts, with an average balance of more than $9,000.
“Efforts like Able To Save Month help us to reach more people and encourage them to start investing in their future,” MiABLE Program Director R. Scott de Varona said.
More information about MiABLE is available at MiABLE.org or 844-656-7225.
— Iron Mountain Daily News