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New program seeks to help people with disabilities save their money

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Cheyna Roth
/
Michigan Radio
Kathleen Wochaski’s says the program will help people with disabilities, like her son, be more independent. ";

A new program to help people with disabilities launched Tuesday.

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.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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