New MiABLE savings program to help those with disabilities, without losing government help

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SAGINAW (WJRT) - (04/15/2019) - A new opportunity was announced Monday for people with disabilities to help save for the future, all without the risk of losing vital government benefits.

The MiABLE savings campaign could impact potentially 300,000 eligible people in the state.

Before, people with disabilities were limited to just $2000 in assets.

That limit made it difficult for many to go to school or get a job for fear of losing government benefits.

25 year old Michela Robb graduated from Saginaw Valley State University in 2017 – and it wasn’t an easy road for her.

She was born with cerebral palsy. After a lifetime of physical therapy and 14 major surgeries she wanted to celebrate the accomplishment with friends and family.

But cash gifts from the celebration pushed her savings account over $2000 - only to have her social security benefits garnished.

The limit has restricted Robb from working but not anymore.

"It feels amazing,” said Robb. “For me I want to work but I can't because I'm on SSI, so MiABLE will allow me to work without fear of losing the money or be able to save money that I've never been able to have before."

MiABLE will allow those with disabilities and their families the chance to save and invest up to $15,000 annually. And if you are employed - an additional $12,140 for a total yearly contribution limit of $27,140.

MiABLE program Director Scott de Varona says the $2000 limit and fear of losing benefits made life difficult for those with disabilities.

"A Wheelchair accessible van can cost $70-80,000,” said de Varona. “You can't save that if you're limited to $2000."

State Senator Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, says it's one of the best programs he's been a part of in his nearly 30 years in office.

"I want these young people, people with disabilities to be know if they are able to go to school that means something, when they get out and graduate and go to work it means something," said Horn.

Michigan was one of the first states to begin disability savings programs in 2016 but but only 2,400 disabled Michiganders are currently enrolled. This helped lead to a new partnership to help promote the savings campaign, along with a statewide coalition spreading the word to their clients.

There will be MiABLE informational session available to the public on May 1 at 11 a.m. at the Saginaw County Community Mental Health Authority’s A&W Professional Development & Business Center.

To find out if you are eligible, there's a link to MiABLE’s website attached to this story.

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