MiABLE is a savings program that was started in 2016 to help people with disabilities and their families achieve financial independence. Since it began, MiABLE has been modified to make it easier to save.
One recent improvement MiABLE made was to widen the scope of who was eligible to open the account on behalf of a beneficiary with disabilities.
“Since our mission is to bring economic peace of mind to Michigan residents with disabilities and their families, a wider variety of family members were added to the list,” said R. Scott de Varona, MiABLE program director for the Michigan Department of Treasury. “As we enter 2021, MiABLE is better positioned than ever to help the people we serve achieve their financial resolutions.”
With these recent enhancements, not only can the people with disabilities open a MiABLE account, but now their parents, court-appointed guardians and those who hold the power of attorney for a disabled person — spouses, siblings and grandparents are also eligible to open MiABLE accounts for a qualified beneficiary. Additionally, representative payees who manage Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income payments for a disabled person may also open an account.
One other improvement MiABLE put into place is the ability to save without jeopardizing the beneficiary’s government assistance. MiABLE is unique this way. Typically, individuals with disabilities can’t have more than $2,000 in assets to receive public benefits. This was the main incentive and drive behind starting MiABLE which was built based on the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, allowing for a better opportunity to save. MiABLE does not affect eligibility for SSI and other government benefits so long as the account balance does not go above $100,000.
The contribution limits with a MiABLE account are very generous. Up to $15,000 a year can go into a MiABLE account, and beneficiaries who are employed can contribute an additional $12,060 annually on top of the $15,000. All contributions made to a MiABLE account by Michigan residents are tax deductible.
MiABLE offers several different types of accounts which meet the needs of each account holder’s comfort level and current position in their savings timeline. The accounts range from conservative to aggressive, and their savings grow tax-free.
Withdrawals from a MiABLE account are not taxed if they are used for qualified disability expenses. Qualified MiABLE expenses include those related to education, housing, transportation, employment training and support, assistive technology and personal support services, health, illness prevention and wellness, financial management, quality of life improvements, legal fees and funeral or burial expenses.
MiABLE has shown to be an attractive option for achieving financial independence. Since MiABLE launched in 2016, more than 5,000 accounts have been opened with a combined total of $21.4 million in savings as of Dec. 15, 2020. However, about 300,000 Michigan residents are eligible for a MiABLE account, de Varona noted. MiABLE accounts are open to individuals who became disabled or blind before age 26 and are entitled to SSDI or SSI.
“We’re hoping that the recent program upgrades will prompt even more people to take advantage of the opportunity to help ensure financial independence and the brightest future possible for Michigan citizens with disabilities,” de Varona said.
More information about MiABLE is available at miable.org.