Dear Neighbor,

As you may know, April is Financial Literacy Month, which is an opportunity to help people better understand their finances, as well as learn ways to both manage and protect them. I wanted to provide you with some best financial practices and resources, along with a couple other updates.

Low- and No-Fee Accounts Available at Select Michigan Banks and Credit Unions 

Michiganders without an account at a bank or credit union spend an average of $3,000 per year on fees for check cashing, money orders, bill pay services, third-party debit cards and more. Having an account at a bank or credit union can be crucial in achieving and maintaining financial security. In addition to providing financial guidance and fraud prevention, a relationship with a financial institution is also important in building positive credit. Accounts offered through the Michigan Open Account Coalition (MOAC) are a great way for anyone without an account to safely and conveniently get the benefits of a relationship with a financial institution.

These accounts can help Michiganders build stronger financial futures without having to worry about hidden fees or costs. Every account offered through the MOAC is certified by the Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) Fund, and follows the CFE’s National Account Standards, which include:

  • No overdraft, account activation, closure, dormancy, inactivity and low balance fees.
  • Limits on ATM fees (no fees in-network; $3 or less out-of-network).
  • A limit on minimum opening deposits ($25 or less).
  • A limit on monthly maintenance fees ($5 or less).

These accounts are easy to understand, user-friendly, and have no surprise fees. For more information and to find a participating institution, go to or call the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services’ call center at (877) 999-6442, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Keep Your Credit In Good Standing With These Tips

Credit plays an important role in our lives every day. Your credit history will be used by potential lenders to help them decide whether to lend you money, and your credit can also impact employment and rental decisions.

There are a number of simple, positive practices you can use to keep your credit in good standing or improve your score:

  • Pay your bills on time! On-time payments are one of the easiest steps toward maintaining or working towards positive credit.
  • Keep balances low on credit cards and revolving lines of credit. Keeping high balances on credit cards can negatively impact your credit.
  • Only take on new credit when necessary. Opening a new credit card for a promotional offer can affect your credit for longer than the promotion benefits you.
  • Regularly review your credit report to ensure it is accurate. Make sure your payment history is accurate and that there are no accounts that have been opened in your name without your authorization.

Free weekly online credit reports are available from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion at, the only source that is authorized by federal law.

For questions about your financial services, call the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services at (877) 999-6442 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Pay Down Debt and Build an Emergency Fund With a Savings and Spending Plan

A savings and spending plan can help you to pay down existing debt and build an emergency fund to help you handle unexpected expenses. To get started, you will need to know how much money you have available after your regular monthly bills and expenses that can be used to work toward your financial goals.

Step 1: Gather your documents and information. Pull together your bank or credit union account statements, credit card statements, and pay stubs from your income for the past year.

Step 2: Make a list of all your required monthly bills. Break this list down into three parts:

  • Essentials: this includes expenses for food, clothing, housing, transportation and health care.
  • Non-essential monthly obligations: non-essentials are things like streaming services, gym memberships, and other subscription services.
  • Required non-monthly expenses: items like property taxes, insurance premiums, auto registration and warranties that may come up once a year. Be sure to take these periodic expenses and calculate their cost on a monthly basis and include it in your budget.

Step 3: List your optional expenses. This includes fun things like travel, hobbies, dining out and entertainment. There may be some overlap with your non-essential monthly obligations as well.

Step 4: Compare expenses with income. Total all your expenses, total all your income, and subtract your monthly expenses from your monthly income.

If your income is more than your expenses, some of the extra money can be used to pay down debt by paying more than the minimum monthly payment, or to set aside each month into an emergency savings fund. If your income is not enough to cover your expenses, you can begin to reevaluate your expenses. Determine which of your optional or non-essential expenses you could go without temporarily (or permanently) to free up income that could go towards paying down debt or building your emergency fund.

For more information on developing a savings and spending plan, go to or call the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services’ call center at (877) 999-6442 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Application Deadline for FEMA Assistance Has Been Extended to May 8

FEMA has extended the application deadline to May 8 for Michigan residents in the nine counties affected by the August 2023 severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that are interested in applying for FEMA assistance. Monroe County and Wayne County are included in these affected areas. Residents interested in applying can go to, use the FEMA app or call the FEMA helpline at (800) 621-3362 between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. More information about the application deadline can be found here.

Tax Extension for Individuals in Wayne County and Monroe County Affected by August 2023 Storms

IRS Notice 2024-42 provides extensions to June 17 to file various federal individual and business tax returns and to make payment for those taxpayers in parts of Michigan affected by severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that began on Aug. 24. Affected areas include Monroe County and Wayne County. Individuals that reside in or have a business in these counties qualify for the IRS relief. The IRS automatically provides filing and penalty relief to any taxpayer with an IRS address of record located in the disaster area, so these taxpayers do not need to contact the agency to get this relief.

The extension applies to tax filing and payment deadlines that occurred during the period from Aug. 24 through June 17. At the federal level, this applies to:

  • Individual income tax returns and payments normally due on April 15.
  • 2023 contributions to IRAs and health savings accounts for eligible taxpayers.
  • Quarterly estimated income tax payments normally due on Sept. 15, Jan. 16 and April 15.
  • Quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on Oct. 31, Jan. 31 and April 30.
  • Calendar-year partnership and S corporations that had a valid tax-year 2022 extension that ran out on Oct. 16 or have a 2023 return normally due on April 15.
  • Calendar-year corporations and fiduciaries that had a valid tax-year 2022 extension that ran out on Oct. 16 or have a 2023 return and payment normally due on April 15.
  • Calendar-year tax-exempt organizations that had a valid tax-year 2022 extension that ran out on Nov. 15 or have a 2023 return normally due on May 15.

More information about federal filing can be found here, and information about state filing can be found here.

Upcoming Events with Rep. Miller

Elder Abuse Town Hall with Attorney General Dana Nessel: Monday, May 13, 3-4:30 p.m.

  • Dundee Area Senior Citizen Center, 284 W. Monroe St., Dundee, MI 48131
  • Joint event with Rep. Miller and Attorney General Nessel

I hope this information is helpful to you. If you have any questions about these financial services, please contact the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS), Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at (877) 999-6442 or online at


State Representative Reggie Miller

Michigan’s 31st District

Office Phone: (517) 373-0159