Michiganders living with disabilities and their families often face tremendous challenges. One is finding the right balance between paying for day-to-day costs and saving for larger expenses, without saving so much that they become ineligible for critical benefits.
Bonnie and Greg Miller of Grand Rapids know this reality all too well. When their adult daughter with Down syndrome, Michele Donahue, wanted to go to Disney World, she was eager to start saving up her own money for the trip using funds from her jewelry-making business.
Unfortunately, her parents knew they couldn’t let her save the money.
In Michigan and in other states, people with disabilities and their families often must make a hard choice when it comes to saving money. That’s because the maximum amount of money a person with disabilities can have in their savings account, without risking other benefits, is $2,000.
Unless they have a MiABLE account.
What is MiABLE?
MiABLE is a program that helps people with disabilities and their families save for the future. It stands for the Michigan Achieving a Better Life Experience (MiABLE) Act of 2015.
This program allows those with disabilities to save more and keep their full benefits for things like health care, food, housing, and everyday expenses.
Opening a MiABLE account with the Michigan Department of Treasury also allows people with disabilities to save money without risking their eligibility for government programs. This includes Social Security Disability Insurance, Supplemental Security Income, or Medicaid.
These accounts can be used for small expenses, or large ones. As long as the money is spent on qualified disability expenses, funds from the account are not taxed. Many people use their MiABLE savings for medical expenses, home modifications, public or private transportation, medical costs, education, and many everyday expenses.
Who is eligible for an account?
Individuals are eligible to open and fund an account if they become disabled or blind before age 26. 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.
Earnings on MiABLE savings grow tax-free. No federal or state tax is owed on withdrawals used to pay for disability expenses.
Grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, friends, and others can all contribute to a person’s MiABLE account. MiABLE also offers Ugift, an easy, free-to-use service that allows others to contribute directly into a loved one’s account.
MiABLE offers several investment options ranging from conservative to aggressive, along with a savings account that lets the account holder withdraw funds using a debit card. Account holders can access their funds at any time for any purpose.
You can open an account at any time. However, this year, opening an account during the month of August brings an extra benefit. To raise awareness of MiABLE, Governor Gretchen Whitmer proclaimed August as “ABLE To Save Month.” Throughout the month, MiABLE will offer up to a $50 match on new accounts opened with $50 or more. You can open an account online at www.MiABLE.org using coupon code MIABLE22.