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New Program Seeks To Help Those With Disabilities Save Their Money

Michigan is now the fifth state in the U.S. to launch a savings program for people with disabilities.  

The Mi – ABLE program gives people with disabilities a savings account with benefits like investment and tax incentives.  The account also lets users save up to $100,000 without losing other financial disability benefits.

Kathleen Wochaski is a 2nd grade teacher at Cherokee Elementary School in Clinton Township.  Her now 22-year old son has physical disabilities and a cogitative impairment.  She said, “It’s a next step in allowing everybody the freedoms that we have as Americans.”

Wochaski also had advice for parents of children with disabilities.  Wochaski says you have to be an advocate for your kids. 

“And if you’re being too pushy, well then you’re not being pushy enough,” she said.  “Because everybody has their own things goin’ on and yours is your child with a disability.  You have to speak for them because nobody else is going to.”

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley worked on the new program.  He says Mi - ABLE allows people with disabilities to make decisions for themselves. 

“In the advocacy world, we call this living a self-determined life,” he said.  “Most of us are afforded the opportunity to have that, and we just need to make sure that everybody else does including people with disabilities.”

Calley has been working on several projects surrounding disability rights, including a bill that bans restraint and seclusion, except in cases of emergency.

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—Cheyna Roth is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org

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