Refrigerator Replacement Program -

If you are on a low income budget and need assistance with replacing your refrigerator, please see this information from DTE Energy. There is specific criteria that must be met in order to qualify. This is a FREE program.

House for Rent

NOTICE OF VACANCY

Please be advised of the following vacancies in HUD 811 PRAC projects managed by Community Housing Network.

Know Someone in Need This Winter?

Below is some good information for people who need assistance during these cold, winter months.

Water Access Volunteer Effort

WAVE fund provides assistance to low income families during a crisis by ensuring uninterrupted access to safe drinking water and sanitation services. To find out if you qualify, call 313-366-8535 or 313-964-9094.

THAW

The Heat and Warmth Fund-$1 million has become available to low income Detroiters facing shut off. Contact: THAW at 877-646-2831.

Wayne Metro Community Action Agency

Information about emergency water assistance days.All appointments must be pre-scheduled, 313-388-9799.

ABLE Act Offers Financial Security for People with Disabilities

WAYNE, MI – January 8, 2015 By the end of this year, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities will be able to take advantage of the newly signed Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) law. This law allows people and their families to create tax-free accounts that can be used to save for disability-related expenses. Income earned from these accounts would not be taxed and contributions made to the accounts would not be tax deductible. These accounts can be created by the individuals to support themselves or by their families to support their dependents.

Below is a list of the Top Ten Things You Must Know about the ABLE Act, courtesy of the National Disability Institute.

1. What is an ABLE account?

ABLE Accounts, which are tax-advantaged savings accounts for individuals with disabilities and their families, will be created as a result of the passage of the ABLE Act of 2014. Income earned by the accounts would not be taxed. Contributions to the account made by any person (the account beneficiary, family and friends) would not be tax deductible.

2. Why the need for ABLE accounts?

Millions of individuals with disabilities and their families depend on a wide variety of public benefits for income, health care and food and housing assistance. Eligibility for these public benefits (SSI, SNAP, Medicaid) require meeting a means or resource test that limits eligibility to individuals to report more than $2,000 in cash savings, retirement funds and other items of significant value. To remain eligible for these public benefits, an individual must remain poor. For the first time in public policy, the ABLE Act recognizes the extra and significant costs of living with a disability. These include costs, related to raising a child with significant disabilities or a working age adult with disabilities, for accessible housing and transportation, personal assistance services, assistive technology and health care not covered by insurance, Medicaid or Medicare.

For the first time, eligible individuals and families will be allowed to establish ABLE savings accounts that will not affect their eligibility for SSI, Medicaid and other public benefits. The legislation explains further that an ABLE account will, with private savings, "secure funding for disability-related expenses on behalf of designated beneficiaries with disabilities that will supplement, but not supplant, benefits provided through private insurance, Medicaid, SSI, the beneficiary's employment and other sources."

3. Am I eligible for an ABLE account?

Passage of legislation is a result of a series of compromises. The final version of the ABLE Act limits eligibility to individuals with significant disabilities with an age of onset of disability before turning 26 years of age. If you meet this criteria and are also receiving benefits already under SSI and/or SSDI, you are automatically eligible to establish an ABLE account. If you are not a recipient of SSI and/or SSDI, but still meet the age of onset disability requirement, you would still be eligible to open an ABLE account if you meet SSI criteria regarding significant functional limitations. The regulations to be written in 2015 by the Treasury Department will have to explain further the standard of proof and required medical documentation. You need not be under the age of 26 to be eligible for an ABLE account. You could be over the age of 26, but must have the documentation of disability that indicates age of onset before the age of 26.

4. Are there limits to how much money can be put in an ABLE account?

The total annual contributions by all participating individuals, including family and friends is $14,000. The amount will be adjusted annually for inflation. Under current tax law, $14,000 is the maximum amount that individuals can make as a gift to someone else and not pay taxes (gift tax exclusion). The total limit over time that could be made to an ABLE account will be subject to the individual state and their limit for education-related 529 savings accounts. Many states have set this limit at more than $300,000 per plan. However, for individuals with disabilities who are recipients of SSI and Medicaid, the ABLE Act sets some further limitations. The first $100,000 in ABLE accounts would be exempted from the SSI $2,000 individual resource limit. If and when an ABLE account exceeds $100,000, the beneficiary would be suspended from eligibility for SSI benefits and no longer receive that monthly income. However, the beneficiary would continue to be eligible for Medicaid. States would be able to recoup some expenses through Medicaid upon the death of the beneficiary.

5. Which expenses are allowed by ABLE accounts?

A "qualified disability expense" means any expense related to the designated beneficiary as a result of living a life with disabilities. These include education, housing, transportation, employment training and support, assistive technology, personal support services, health care expenses, financial management and administrative services and other expenses which will be further described in regulations to be developed in 2015 by the Treasury Department.

6. Where do I go to open an ABLE account?

Each state is responsible for establishing and operating an ABLE program. If a state should choose not to establish its own program, the state may choose to contract with another state to still offer its eligible individuals with significant disabilities the opportunity to open an ABLE account.

Since President Obama just signed the bill in December 2014, the Secretary of the Department of Treasury will begin to develop regulations that will guide the states in terms of a.) the information required to be presented to open an ABLE account; b) the documentation needed to meet the requirements of ABLE account eligibility for a person with a disability; and c) the definition details of "qualified disability expenses" and the documentation that will be needed for tax reporting.

No accounts can be established until the regulations are finalized following a public comment period on proposed rules for program implementation. States will begin to accept applications to establish ABLE accounts before the end of 2015.

7. Can I have more than one ABLE account?

No. The ABLE Act limits the opportunity to one ABLE account per eligible individual.

8. Will states offer options to invest the savings contributed to an ABLE account?

Like state 529 college savings plans, states are likely to offer qualified individuals and families multiple options to establish ABLE accounts with varied investment strategies. Each individual and family will need to project possible future needs and costs over time, and to assess their risk tolerance for possible future investment strategies to grow their savings. Account contributors or designated beneficiaries are limited, by the ABLE Act, to change the way their money is invested in the account up to two times per year.

9. How many eligible individuals and families might benefit from establishing an ABLE account?

There are 58 million individuals with disabilities in the United States. To meet the definition of significant disability required by the legislation to be eligible to establish an ABLE account, the conservative number would be approximately 10 percent of the larger group, or 5.8 million individuals and families. Further analysis is needed to understand more fully the size of this market and more about their needs for new savings and investment products.

10. How is an ABLE account different than a special needs or pooled trust?

An ABLE Account will provide more choice and control for the beneficiary and family. Cost of establishing an account will be considerably less than either a Special Needs Trust (SNT) or Pooled Income Trust. With an ABLE account, account owners will have the ability to control their funds and, if circumstances change, still have other options available to them. Determining which option is the most appropriate will depend upon individual circumstances. For many families, the ABLE account will be a significant and viable option in addition to, rather than instead of, a Trust program.

Community Living Services is funded through the Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority, Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority, Macomb County Community Mental Health and United Way. For more information contact us at (734) 467-7600 or visit our website at http://www.comlivserv.com.

Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority Strategic Planning Community Forum

If you would like to be involved in the strategic planning process please plan on joining us at the following Evening forum:

When:

Where:

Salvation Army - Detroit Harbor Light
3737 Laeton St.
Detroit, Mi 48208

To register visit:
Dec 2nd:
https://www.vceonline.org/2014-12-2-Developing-a-Strategic-Plan-for-Detroit-.id.2162.htm

DWMHA will meet with consumers, families, stakeholders and community partners to solicit feedback on our strategic plan. DWMHA will work with individuals interested in the status of mental health in Wayne County.

Activities will include:

  • Reviewing DWMHA’s Mission, Vision and Guiding Principles
  • Cataloguing DWMHA’s current functions and resources
  • Identifying the system’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
  • Collect and use reliable data to achieve strategic goals

Focus Groups

If you have questions regarding registrations contact: Camille Ulrich at 734-785-7705, ext. 7427 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Community Inclusion and Integration
For years we have understood that individuals have wanted to live in more independent housing and have more employment opportunities. In order to meet the desired outcomes, this breakout session will focus on identifying innovative projects and develop action plans that are going to help reach these goals. In what way can the individual served be engaged in meeting their desired outcomes?
Crisis Management & Response
This session is an opportunity to re-imagine the way we access community and peer supports to prevent and handle crises and remove the need for restrictive care.
Improving Practices
This breakout session will help to identify programs and services that are beneficial to the community. And implement practices to ensure that valuable tools that meet the needs of persons served are established.
Health and Safety
This breakout session discusses overall strategies to promote wellness and safety in the community, adopting healthy behaviors and reducing harm in the delivery of care to consumers.
Recovery Oriented System of Care
This breakout session will focus on what we as a system, its partners and those served can do in cooperation to build a society that is inclusive and fully supports recovery.
Integrated Care
How do we coordinate our systems into one integrated service for persons with multiple problems and complex needs? Be prepared to discuss your thoughts and ideas on cross-systems integration.
Operational Excellence
How to do we balance, Cost, Quality and, Time? This session will be discussing organizational efficiency and effectiveness to ensure we get more "effective" dollars into services.