June 10, 2019
By Courtney Ann Jackson
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippians with disabilities now have an empowering new program available to help save money. The Mississippi ABLE Program is helping tear down some of the red tape.
Can you have too much in savings? Mississippians with disabilities could... for years. If their savings exceeded $2,000 dollars, they could lose their public benefits.
“It handcuffed you and now the state of Mississippi and MDRS (Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services) has given us wings,” said Antonio Wright.
The wings Antonio Wright is describing are through the ABLE program. It is creating the ability to build the savings total up to $15,000 each year with a maximum balance of $235,000.
“To me this betters our state because, individually, we can go out and better our homes,” added Wright.
Lauren Compere says no matter if you grew up in a family that told you to shoot for the stars, the law put a limit on that.
“These strict limits really over time, I believe, have discouraged us from being entrepreneur, from being CEOs and from being highly successful businessmen and women,” described Compere.
Mandy Rogers and her son Ben were the first in the state to set up an account. The savings can be used for qualified disability expenses.
“Save for his future for like when Paul and I aren’t here to take care of him," explained Mandy Rogers. "He can get hearing aids, repairs on his house, maintenance on his house. Things that he needs that he can have access to without having to go to court, like, through a special needs trust fund.”
Lilly Lape also created an account with her dad. A day he didn’t think would be possible.
“We kind of did a 90/10 to where we’re doing investment plus checking," explained Brent Lape. "So, we’re setting up for her future so that way when she’s old enough to have a checking account, she’ll have money already in there that she can start spending on. Our goal is that she’ll be able to live independently.”
And that’s the ultimate goal for all qualified individuals. It’s designed to provide more financial independence.
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