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Celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day by opening a disability savings account

With the approach of Global Accessibility Awareness Day next week, the Michigan Department of Treasury is encouraging hundreds of thousands of Michiganders with disabilities to open MiABLE savings accounts as one way of gaining more financial freedom to improve digital access and inclusion.

Approximately 500,000 individuals in Michigan are eligible to open MiABLE accounts, but only about 1% of that number are currently enrolled statewide.

Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) will be celebrated Thursday, May 16, to bring attention to the challenges many people with disabilities face in gaining full access to the digital world. The day was established 13 years ago to promote access and inclusion for people with disabilities as the world becomes increasingly dependent on high-tech communications.

“Owning a MiABLE account opens the doors for people with disabilities to do so many things. This includes purchasing computers and other devices that grants fuller access to opportunities enjoyed by everyone and adds to their quality of life,” said R. Scott de Varona, MiABLE program director. “A MiABLE account is a game changer for people with disabilities and their families when it comes to access, inclusion, opportunity and financial freedom.”

For those who want to learn more about the benefits of MiABLE, de Varona recommended attending an upcoming webinar. The next one will take place at noon Wednesday, May 15. Registration for this event is available online. 

Established in Michigan in 2015, MiABLE is a disability savings program administered by the Michigan Department of Treasury. It stands for Michigan Achieving a Better Life Experience and was designed to help ease the financial burden challenging people with disabilities and their families. MiABLE accounts help people with disabilities save for current and future expenses without jeopardizing government assistance like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income.

In Michigan and nationally, a $2,000 federal asset limit is imposed on people with disabilities who receive government benefits. Compared with their peers, people with disabilities are twice as likely to live in poverty, less likely to be employed and more likely to be underemployed.

MiABLE allows individuals who became disabled before age 26 and their families to save up to $18,000 annually in various investment options. On top of that limit, beneficiaries who are employed can contribute an amount equal to their current-year gross income, up to another $14,580.

Sarah Perez, a Linden woman with a disability, has been a MiABLE account owner since she first heard about it in 2016. One of her early purchases thanks to MiABLE was a computer, and “it changed my life by allowing me to be part of the world again,” she said.

“Before MiABLE, I didn’t feel like I had a place in the world,” Perez said. “The ability to reconnect with the world because of the things I could do through MiABLE restored my sense of worth.”

Setting up a MiABLE account is quick and easy, generally taking about 15 minutes, de Varona said.

A MiABLE account lets you make your own decisions about how to spend your money on qualified disability expenses (QDEs), without getting permission from a special trust. QDEs are expenses to maintain or improve your health, independence or quality of life. Examples include health care, housing, education and transportation costs.

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, and no federal or state tax is owed on withdrawals used to pay for qualified disability expenses.

For more information or to open a MiABLE account online, go to