Forlini: Multi-bill package empowers Michigan families
The Michigan House Financial Services Committee today passed legislation to create the Michigan Achieving a Better Life Experience program as well as provide more financial opportunities for those with disabilities.
State Rep. Anthony Forlini, a certified financial planner by trade, is the author of the Michigan ABLE Act and said this legislation is about self-empowerment of Michigan families.
“These families face struggles that most of us cannot imagine,” said Rep. Forlini, R-Harrison Township. “This program not only allows families to save for their loved ones, but these accounts incentivize long-term savings and financial stability for those who need it most.”
The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, signed into law at the federal level late last year, gives states the ability to establish ABLE Accounts for those with a disability occurring prior to 26 years of age. These tax-exempt savings accounts can be used for maintaining health, independence and quality of life for those with disabilities without taking away certain essential benefits such as Medicaid.
Rep. Forlini said it was always frustrating to know in his practice that without an expensive special needs trust, parents couldn’t put money away for their child, because if they did, the government would stop benefits.
“The cost of living with a disability can be extremely expensive,” Rep. Forlini said. “Education, health care, and a variety of therapies are all costly, and the price continues to rise. That’s why it is important that we help families manage those costs effectively.”
Along with establishing the Michigan ABLE Act, House Bills 4541-4544 also amend the Michigan Education Savings Program (MESP).
Right now Michigan ranks one of the lowest in the country in terms of the amount of money you can put into a 529 account with a maximum balance of $235,000, Rep. Forlini said. This bill will bring the maximum to $500,000, making us one of the highest in the country.
“This legislation makes Michigan a pioneer on this topic and can help set the standard for the rest of the country on how these accounts should be run,” Rep. Forlini said. “Michigan values education, and Michigan values those who are least able to help themselves.”