MiABLE announces “I Will Never Lose” campaign

Michela Robb, a student at Saginaw Valley State University with cerebral palsy, discusses the financial restraints that come from living with disability at the MiABLE press conference in the SVRC Marketplace. Saginaw, April 15, 2019. (Michael Piwowarski/News Editor)

By Michael Piwowarski, news editor.

SAGINAW – For individuals with disabilities, there is financial help available for tuition, vehicle purchases, health care and other expenses.

A new statewide campaign for the MiABLE program titled “I Will Never Lose” has launched. The campaign will encourage children and adults with disabilities, as well as disabled veterans and their families, to open an account with MiABLE to save and invest money.

The MiABLE program was started in 2015 with the passage of the Michigan Able act and the 2014 passage of the Stephen Beck Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) act, the latter of which authorizing states to start savings programs for disabled people.

A 2019 press release stated that only 2,400 Michigan citizens out of nearly 300,000 who qualify are enrolled in MiABLE, due to a lack of awareness.

Those who have a MiABLE account can save money without risking losing government benefits such as medicaid and supplemental security income. This low registration necessitated the launch of a statewide ad campaign for public awareness.

Both Republican and Democrat state legislators were present at an April 13 press conference, taking place at the SVRC Marketplace in Saginaw, showcasing bipartisan support for MiABLE.

“One of those communities that is often overlooked is those folks with disabilities,” said Vanessa Guerra, Democratic state representative from Saginaw. “They are […] less likely to be employed. And when they are employed, they are more likely to be under-employed.”

Guerra elaborated that people with disabilities have to rely on government benefits to have a stable income, where they are limited to $2,000 in assets. With MiABLE, people who are eligible can save and invest up to $15,000 each year.

“I think that having MiABLE for disabled students would be amazing because it helps with tuition; because I had to go through MRS to have the money to have my books and my tuition,” says Michela Robb, a creative writing student at Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU) who has cerebral palsy.

Despite her disability, Robb is determined to live her life as a better citizen and loves to work. She says that being on MiABLE would better allow her to live as a productive Michigan citizen without worrying about the limitations her disability brings.

“I’ve been writing since I was 12,” says Robb, who wants a career as a publisher. “I would love to be able to publish books and earn money that way, and to be able to speak through writing, basically.”

“Thankfully, with MiABLE, we are making changes to that so that these people can have all the opportunities that they deserve and they can save and they can have a future that’s just as bright as it is for everyone else,” Guerra said.

A free informational session is coming up Wednesday, May 1 at 11 a.m, at the Saginaw County Community Health Authority’s A&W Professional Development & Business Center, 1 Germania Platz in Saginaw. The presentation will go over several topics, including history of the ABLE act, who is eligible for an ABLE account, how to open an account and more.

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