November & December 20 1 8


ABLE to Save
Tired of being constrained to the $2,000 asset limit that Social Security imposes on people? Ever heard of an ABLE account? What does ABLE mean? Achieving a Better Life Experience. This is a savings account which allows people to exceed the $2,000 limitation. ABLE accounts are a national program which allow for savings up to $15,000 a year tax free and over time can even grow up to $100,000 before any drawbacks. What’s the catch? ABLE does have some qualifiers for who is eligible and what the money in the ABLE account can be used towards. To be eligible, the person must have had the onset of their disability occur before they turned 26 and are also eligible for SSI or SSDI. Older people may qualify, but you need to check into it with more detail. The money in an ABLE account can be used at any time for any reason ONLY if spent to improve your health, quality of life, or independence. To learn more about ABLE accounts or take their quick eligibility test, use www.able-now.com .  Also, I am not a financial advisor of any sort, consult with a professional before doing anything that may impact your benefits.

For any of those that are interested in learning more or with some questions; dis Ability Connections and Hillsdale Intermediate School District are offering a free informational session on March 20 th , 2019. It will be held @ 310 W. Bacon Road, Hillsdale, MI. Find more information on our website or Register Here:
side and back view of Nike shoe with heel zipper
What to Wear
Getting your shoes on a little harder than it should be? Trouble with buttons or zippers on your clothing? Finally some big brands and companies are getting into adaptive clothing for people with disabilities. Brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, stores like Target, and online retailer Zappos have jumped into versions of adaptable clothing. These are big steps in the right direction, especially when you recognize one in five Americans have some sort of disability. While the pricing, variety, and design could use a little adjustment to be even more broadly appealing, the action of getting into adaptive clothing is worthy of acknowledging. I do like the Nike zip-up heel on shoes, but people with AFO's may encounter size/fit issues. Plus, they want feedback from the people that actually use their products. Maybe they will have something you can add to your wish-list from Santa!
Responsibilities Related to Clearing Snow & Ice from Sidewalks
By Parrish Stahl
Those of us that are from Michigan know that it is wise to keep the shovels handy and the snow blower gassed up and ready. It is only a matter of time before the white and ice arrive. It is important to remember that City of Jackson residents are required to clear sidewalks to a minimum of 3 ft. in width adjacent to their property when more than four inches of snow accumulates. The ordinance also authorizes the city to remove snow and ice that is a threat to public safety at the property owner expense, sometimes without written or verbal warnings.

If a property owner is unable to clear their own driveway or sidewalk there are sometimes options including volunteers. It's important to let the city or your local municipality know when you have a problem. They can sometimes work out a solution or help you come up with a plan of action. In the city of Jackson you can call (517) 788-4170 or visit their website for more information www.cityofjackson.org . Call your local government to see if they have similar solutions to snow and ice issues for Seniors or those with disabilities.

Room Issues Shouldn’t be an Issue in new Hotel

Unless I’m mistaken, it seems as though the height of a bed is pretty important to the overall function of a hotel. What good is getting an “accessible” room, going through the process to ensure of reserving specific rooms, even equipped with a roll-in shower when the user can’t get on the bed? A MAIN FUNCTION OF A HOTEL! Especially in a new hotel. This one I’m referring to was built within the last year, and is a national chain. They should know by now what ADA acceptable is and what is not up to the code. 
A new issue I encountered was as a result of the business trying to be more “Green”. While intended for good, made it difficult for me without having finger dexterity like a “typical” person. This new feature worked the lights (another big function in a hotel room). Once inside the hotel room, the occupant is supposed to slide a door key inside this slot and leave it there and the lights in the room will work as normal. Remove the key, and the lights will turn off after a minute or so and flipping lights on no longer works until a key is placed back in the slot by the door. So naturally what happens when I try to go to the bathroom at night? I went to put my key in the slot by the front door, because bathroom light won’t turn on without it in there, and dropped the key to the floor.  Also note that the slot is not at a low and convenient location but above the light switches. As a result I ended up using my phone’s flashlight and the TV as my only light sources. Hindsight hint: it is possible to leave the key there over night and my incident would've been avoided. I applaud the initiative to try and be “Greener” or more “Accessible”, but seems like a little more fore thought and input from some of the people the changes would impact could have prevented this.

Lastly, we want to wish each and all of you a great and safe Holiday Season and Happy New Year. We have had a busy year and eagerly look forward to 2019 and the experiences to come.
I Want That

Imagine all the benefits these would have for so many people.